this is no contribution, however the role of beggar for information / insight and comments are portrayed.
i have the opportunity to start an innovation hub / center of excellence for a financial insurance company.
preliminary questions i need answered are:
how do you position the innovation hub? how do we establish organic growth? what are the challenges out there? what should the format / structure look like? what roles should be performed, is it a directive or an enabler role.....or both?
Why not try an approach from Game Theory - start at the end result and reason backwards. If your Innovation Hub was fantastically successful, what would it achieve - what does success look like? From there, reason what types of people you need to achieve that level of success. From there, reason what type of motivation those people need and what politics etc you might need to cut through in order to lead to that level of success. This is a brainstorming pattern I've found useful in the past.
We have started something here in Dresden about a year ago. It is called LockSchuppen and the intention is to act as a combining hub for the creative powers in the city. May it be entrepreneurs, startups, students, facilities at universities, citizen, city council, networks in the web net or other knowledgeable folks.
how do you position the innovation hub? - in between current initiatives and organizations, function as the boundary spanner and facilitator to generate future economic growth opportunities (especially through combining knowledge around the world, see WikiWall)
how do we establish organic growth? - start really really small! We had been really just three people in the beginning. Now there is a team of five dedicated folks being part of the team with dozens of supporters around the city and world.
what are the challenges out there? - the challenge is to dock on the current structures and organizations that have been running their business for quite some time. For them anything new is a threat.
what should the format / structure look like? - adaptable open living self-organising body
what roles should be performed, is it a directive or an enabler role.....or both? - the enabler and facilitation role is most preferrable. I like EdgarSchein's "process consultation" best: helping organizations to help themselves, see the future and learn themselves.
Hope that makes sense and happy to read other views.
i wish to thank all who replied to my post, this is an awesome site, defnitly some serious research waits me.
in answering Alex's question, this is predominantly tailored for internal customers, current employee total +_ 6000.
ralph, thank you for the comprehensive reply...hence another...culture, what is the ideal mechanism in penetrating a very conservative, "why bother us, things are going good" culture...resistance to change very daunting.
when we start small, what roles should be included in the core team? my current notion is to include a project administrator, senior business analyst/consultant and a systems/reporting/mis analyst....
I'm currently working with an organization to establish an internal innovation office, primarily in charge of driving business model innovation across 4 companies and about 15 business units.
We put BMI on the radar by making it the main topic of the yearly top management meeting, where about 120 people will work on the topic. As it is new for the organisation, in the preparation phase the innovation office acts as a center of expertise to help managers prepare for the meeting.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to discuss further...
I am a senior analyst with a centre of expertise whose key goal is to drive change in a major program of the Government of Canada. To do that we are expected to play the role of enabler rather than dictating to other organizations the future of the business.
This may not be exactly the context in which you are working, but think if you examine the business model I have attached, you may get a feel for the relationships and key parts of a centre of expertise. The attached is our business model. Here are some key considerations about which to think.
- The key relationships in the client zone are linked through the coloured markers.
- The prime relationship is with the funding body, the sole source of revenue, who pay us to be a catalyst for change
- For the other two client segments we are a network to enable change and a provider of knowledge and advice (that is part of the key value, we bring knowledge about specialized subject areas as well as change management and business analysis tools)
- One of our weaknesses right now is our lack of mechanisms to manage our relationship with the recipients (organizations outside government), where our business channels are limited to staff.
- GCPedia is the government version of Wikipedia, access is limited to inside the government walls.
- One can see how, as a centre of expertise, a large part of our business relies on staff relationships and our interaction with the client segments. That has a great effect on the infrastructure requirements.
- our key activities are around bringing people to the table (engage) and providing the mechanisms and frameworks for them to discuss the future and where they see it changing (enable). We also gather information from many sources, internal and external, and provide this for the community (integrate). Finally we do considerable research and analysis on the delivery of grants and on change management
- With all those people based activities, channels and relationship management, our key resources are the staff and their subject matter expertise.
- because we are a small group of people we have to rely fairly heavily on consultants, and other subject matter experts inside the government to provide the knowledge and frameworks we don't have in-house.
- The cost structure is particular to the Government of Canada so I don't think this would be particularly relevant to your context. Most important to note that contrary to most other entities in the Government we operate on a project allocation basis - this was important to note in our business model.
What I think is more important in your case is to understand the innovation cycle and where you are in your development. As written in the BMG the innovation process has five essential phases - mobilize, understand, design, implement and manage. If you are a new centre, you are probably heavily into the mobilization phase. That will often affect the skills and activities, requiring a focus more on educating the community on change and innovation than the analytical skills required during understand and design.
Anyway - have a look and think. If we can be of further help let us know.
Mike, thank you for the feedback, it is most insightfull.....the perception i have is that the success of such an endevor primarily resides upon, soft skill stuff i.e. tenacity, servantship, being a true enabler that can be trusted?
True, the initial success of a CoE is based on engaging people in the conversations and initiatives. Ultimately though it is the capability of the 'experts' in the centre who can turn theoretical frameworks and approaches into practical deliverables that help the organization move forward. I have seen CoEs fail because they miss that last target.
Operations people most often don't want to know, or don't have the time to immerse themselves in the theory. Their world is focussed on hard deliverables. I watched a colleague's centre of expertise in change management fail in that they spent all of their efforts trying to make people understand the underlying framework they were using, and over six months didn't deliver anything substantive to change the organization. The CoE didn't understand their success was contingent on their ability to translate the theory into practical application. A functioning business has only so much time to talk about theory, then you have to deliver solutions.
the CoE business model:
The colours in the client zone show the linkage between the client segments and the values, channels and relationship management mechanisms. That being said, one can readily see the recipient community is a weak point of the model. So far we have done little more than personal interaction to engage and interact with the organizations receiving grants. That is our prime target for this year, figuring out how we will engage the external (to government) clients in the conversation about changing the grants and contributions program.
I've been working on setting up a Business Analysis Centre of Excellence for a major Crown Corporation for almost a year now. The first month or two was spent reviewing the literature, figuring out HOW to set this BACOE up so that it could be operational with 1.5 years. Typically, from my review of articles out there, it takes 2-3 years.
We established three "pillars" or categories of activity for the BACOE, namely:
- Skills and Knowledge Capabilities;
- Best Practices; and,
- Delivery Support
Working groups were immediately created for the first two pillars. We've done a current state analysis of our skils and knowledge, a current state analysis of our practices/processes, and now we are setting realistic goals for future states alnog with strategy maps that will cover off what tools, process changes, (e-)learning will enable those changes. We left delivery support until a later date because we still don't have enough Senior BAs to lead that initative.
I can imagine using the same process for setting up a BMICOE. Assess your current state in terms of what tools are people using, what processes, what are the levels of competency, etc. and then set some future state goals to transform the practices at that organization.
Stay away from "governance" issues... at least at first. I've heard horror stories about COEs that failed because of internal politics. Once a COE is delivering value, senior management can be persuaded to leave the governance of the program to a committee and have a regularly appointed Ex. Director "run" the thing.
We've used an on-line portal here. It seems to be a great way to involve everyone within the organization. In other words, while our focus is on the BA practioners, there's valuable information for BA enabler roles as well.
Having done this once, I'm now way more confident about doing it again... so I'm hoping to set up another COE related to Business Analysis (or maybe not, the subject matter isn't as important to understand as the approach to setting up a COE in my experience).
Defnitly a great thank you to all for input recieved, paramount characteristics noted are the practical implementation aspect (creating value though implementation of low level quick wins?), thans again Mike.
Kennith your contribution much appreciated, do you perhaps have a business / configuration model to share?
From a values perspective, i believe elitism or even the perception thereof could be detremental.
Next steps whould be to have participative sessions with all stakeholders posing the question "what would make a COE successfull / how could this work for them".
your input regarding the approach will be most appreciated
We basically looked at the Business Solutions and Delivery (IT Dept) as providing services to our client, the larger enterprise and modeled things based upon service delivery. We then wanted to know how we could improve our existing services. To do this, we analyzed the current state thoroughly. One thing that we determined was the existing KPIs for the BS&D team did not represent a balanced scorecard. We were not measuring objective business value to/for our client. This is being re-examined now so that better metrics can be introduced and baselined.
Our "membership" consists of any/all BA practitioners so we've eliminated the perception of elitism by involving everyone in the BACOE. We've also extended our reporting/accountability to everyone within the department via. the online portal so that our efforts as a COE are communicated regularly and we rely on feedback from any/all roles within the dept. to direct our future efforts.
We're now going for the "quick wins" in terms of re-defining some key processes and developing some internal training (e-learning and classroom) that will enhance service delivery skills.
If you are at the early stage of setting up a group, and this applies to any business model, the first thing you should consider is your primary client-value relationship. Who is your primary source of revenue? Are you receiving revenue from the clients to whom you are directly providing service? Or are you, like our group, being paid by one client to deliver services to others within or outside the organization?
That has to be your first engagement priority. Understand the needs and expectations of you revenue generator first. It won't really matter how well you are delivering services to other clients if your funding client is not satisfied with what you are doing. Once you have that relationship firmly in hand, you can move on to engage the other stakeholders.