In a previous post I introduced the “data gathering” aspect of a four-point innovation strategy to Know Where You Are. I discusses the creation of a Portfolio Intelligence team to gather business data. I also mentioned that Building Technology Communities is another fundamental tenet in an innovation strategy. In this post I’d like to re-visit step 1 (Gather Data) and talk about how Technology Communities can drive the gathering of innovation data.
Given the strong emphasis in the last post on community building, let’s discuss data collection in the context of global innovation communities. In the year 2011 a global data collection community was created at EMC. This data collection community decided to run a multi-year prototype to create an industry-first innovation measurement dashboard. The team created a schema, a collection framework, and a process whereby unstructured innovation data in the form of ideas, presentations, documents, customer discussions, etc., were submitted into EMC’s own Pivotal database.
Once the Pivotal store contained enough entries, the global team shifted the emphasis from data collection to data science. The reason for this shift was to try and determine if analytic algorithms and visualization tools could provide insight to business leaders that would allow our company to “know where we are”. This effort did indeed produce prototype dashboards and visualizations that painted a picture of global innovation for the very first time.
One of the more interesting outcomes of the prototype was that the team did not have a clear and actionable plan emerge from these reports. At the same time (fortunately) members of the team attended EMC’s Big Data Analytics curriculum training, and learned about the importance of generating hypotheses and analytic plans. During the training we learned about the Data Analytic Lifecycle, and decided to launch another phase of the project and formally apply the Lifecycle discipline.
I will cover the results of this approach in an upcoming post.