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Engage // Innovate Welcomes New Partner Ian Pallister

Seeing an increasing client demand for  a tailored approach to strategy and innovation, Engage // Innovate is expanding its team to welcome new Partner Ian Pallister – who comes armed with more than two decades of experience helping top management across the globe on strategy, innovation, and transformation.

 

“It’s a great privilege to have Ian Pallister join the team, bringing on board deep expertise from his time at renowned strategy firms Strategos (with Gary Hamel) and Palladium,” says Engage // Innovate co-founder, Christian Rangen.

Residing in Munich, Ian Pallister has a 25-year track record of working with clients across a broad span of industries – from telecommunications, government, to energy and Fast Moving Consumer Goods – to solve their most complex strategy, process and people challenges.

“With Ian on the team, we will be able to serve a wider variety of clients and create even stronger impact.” added Rangen.

We sat down with Ian and a cup of coffee to understand what he brings to the table.

 

Tell us a little bit about your work in strategy and innovation

 

For the last 20 years I have been working in advisory roles, working within well known consulting firms to help clients with their strategic and innovation challenges. And I’ve been fortunate to work with some great people and clients around the world, from whom I have learnt a huge amount.

At Strategos, I worked with clients to formulate robust strategies that were based upon a solid ‘foundation’ of strategic insights. The resultant strategies were focused upon opportunities for growth that took account of what the company was uniquely good at, and where it could out-compete others; but also unique insights into current and potential customers and markets.

As well as strategy formulation we always emphasised the need to design strategies that could be implemented and that lead us to develop Migration Maps that clients could use to guide their strategy implementation.

Our work in innovation built upon a similar approach – we focused upon developing new innovative concepts but also emphasised in-market experimentation for ultimately greater launch success. So, in summary the work was about creative design and rigorous implementation.

At Palladium I was able to continue that work, helping clients with both their strategy and innovation challenges. Palladium is known as the world’s premier strategy execution firm and its work in that area is based upon the ground-breaking work of Prof Kaplan (from Harvard) and Dr Norton who developed the concepts of the Balanced Scorecard and the Strategy Map.

At Palladium, I helped to bring more of a front-end strategy formulation aspect to their work, whilst also developing a comprehensive approach to innovation which was called the Innovation Impact Framework. This framework was very comprehensive, starting with the strategic role of innovation through to the measurement and management of innovation.

Could you highlight a couple of the more interesting projects you’ve worked on?

Some of the most interesting projects are those where clients are facing big challenges that they have never faced before and you are able to come in and reassure them as to how they should move forward.

A recent strategy project saw me helping a company adjust to a completely new set of strategic challenges that had come about through a change in their Group strategy.

They no longer had a protected ‘internal provider’ status and had to go into the external market and compete for both external customers and internal business.

This was a huge disruption for them and required a completely different approach to strategy, one that actually required them to be more innovative in their thinking and a lot more focused upon extrernal trends and customer needs.

Helping them to make this very difficult strategic adjustment and develop a really strong strategy was very satisfying.

A recent innovation project saw me asked me help a leading Telco firm develop new innovation spaces in the areas of IoT and Big Data.

This was especially interesting due to the leading edge content matter of the project itself but it also reinforced my belief that disruptive innovation as well as more incremental innovations can be brought to market by the application of a thorough innovation process, that involves the right participants from both within and outside of the company.

 

‘Based on your experience, what do you think are the key building blocks for developing an innovation proficiency?  

The key here is to be able to develop an approach to innovation that fits well with the existing organisational culture. And this requires a bespoke approach.
Of course it is advisable to start with an existing proven approach and a set of tools, and the guidance of experienced practitioners. It is all about adopt, adapt, and embed.
This involves adopting a framework/system/process and through some practical application to real business challenges, adapting these processes/tools to your organisation. And finally you need to embed the approach by extending it to as many parts of the organisation, and as many people, as possible.

 

‘You’ve worked on projects where you helped teams look out and capitalize on long-term trends – what are the things you think we should look out for?’

Well, in terms of the process that you should adopt to help you look for the trends, I think it does help to take a broad view and by that I mean to look at trends in many different categories – technology, markets, customers, socio-economic etc.

The key thing here is not to focus upon individual trends but to be able to look for the intersection of trends and the reinforcing of separate trends that have the potential to drive discontinuous changes that can result in large scale market disruptions.
At present, we see a lot of disruption that is technology-led and this will continue but we also see a lot of disruptions to business that come from political and market changes, so being able to predict those changes, and perhaps model the impact of those changes through some form of scenario planning is a useful exercise.

 

What are some of the key issues you see that CEOs are struggling with currently?

Building upon the answer to the last question, at present I think the key issue CEOs are facing is the level of uncertainty and rapid change in the world and this has only been magnified by recent political changes i.e. Brexit, President Trump and his leaning towards trade tariffs etc. The world was complicated enough without these additional drivers of uncertainty.

So, I see CEOs struggling to develop long-term strategies that set out a vision and direction for their firm and stakeholders, but are also practical and implementable in more than just a short 3-6 month execution horizon.

Of course, the solution to this is to work on formulating longer term strategies that are based upon a robust and broad set of strategic insights – the Strategic Foundation – and consider different strategic options and scenarios as part of that formulation process.

And then to implement rigorously in a short to medium term time frame (12-24 months) using tried and tested management tools such as those I mentioned earlier, Strategy Maps, Scorecards etc. and build the management and reporting of strategic success into the culture of the organisation. Implementation then becomes more than just a reporting of numbers and allows for greater organisational agility to ‘course correct’ as necessary based upon changing conditions.

 

How do you see the intersection of strategy and innovation changing in the years to come?

I see the intersection of these two areas as being vitally important and strategy and innovation are becoming inextricably linked. And in many ways strategy formulation is all about innovation i.e. identifying new market spaces, developing new concepts, and bringing them to market; whilst also ensuring that existing product/services/business models remain relevant to changing customer preferences.

For example, The Innovation Impact Framework that I mentioned earlier was designed to ensure that all innovation activity was 100% aligned with the business strategy and that any outcomes from innovation efforts were completely aligned with the vision of the business. If there is any disconnect between the two, then innovation effort and budget is wasted.

Finally, let me say that what I love about Engage//Innovate is their focus on both strategy AND innovation. I think you are leading the way in helping clients to bring these two vital areas of management together and I look forward to working with the team in the future.

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Christian Rangen at the IMWorld 2017 Conference in Romania

This interview first appeared in Ctrl-D in the Romanian language. Click here for original article.

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Christian Rangen will meet with the Romanian public at the IMWorld 2017 conference on October 4-5, 2017. Engage // Innovate will go on Main Stage, where he will hold a session on  Is Your Strategy Ready for the Future?

 

A lot of companies talk about innovation, although they don’t always know what they mean by it. So, how would you explain innovation… for an employer and employee?



Thank you for a great question.

In its most simple terms, innovation is something new that creates value for the company and its stakeholders. Of course, very often it’s much more than that.

We like to talk about innovation vs transformation, where innovation is a number of important new things for the company – for example a new product, a new service, or entirely new business models, while transformation is really a large scale, significant change to create entirely new businesses or business areas that over time can become bigger than the old company.

We always recommend companies to learn our tool The Innovation Pyramid that uses 9 different levels to explain what is innovation. This is a really powerful tool to create shared understanding and shared language in the organization. You can download it at www.strategytools.io.

 

The right tools, the right structure or the right mindset – which one is the most important for a company to successfully seize new growth opportunities. Why?


You need all three. We work a lot with companies to build innovation capabilities, and again and again and again, we see that we need this combination of factors.

You need a mandate and structure for anything to happen, you need the right tools internally to work within an organizational setting, but without the right mindset and culture, nothing is going to happen over time. 

 

What other measures are needed beyond just training executives in a new strategy tool, in order to innovate?


Successful companies share three traits. First, they have a strong mandate for innovation, usually from the board of directors and the CEO. Second, they have sufficient resources in terms of time and money, and finally, they have the right structure and tools in place. Hence, the right tools are really really important, but you need to look at the wider organization in order to succeed.

 

Can a company teach its people to be innovative?


Absolutely. Innovation, like any other organizational skill, can be taught, trained and developed over time. We’ve seen some great examples with large organizations really putting innovation and creativity training to the core of their people development.

Based on our work with large companies around the world, we’ve observed three things – first, you need an innovation hero. This is the person that’s creating the internal interest and buy in. Second, you need to link it back to the corporate strategy – so where the company is going in the next ten years. Then it’s really simple, in the matter of designing and running training programmes. This can be physical training sessions, it can be online programmes, or it can be corporate education programmes.

But yes, innovation and creativity can definitely be taught and learned in any conversation.

 

Nowadays most of the companies outsource innovation. Do you think this is a good thing or that innovation should be a core company competency in order to create a culture of innovation?

 

I think building a deep capability for innovation is a must for any company and any industry. I also think companies should develop innovation strategies that allow for both internal and external forms of innovation. A great example is Cisco and its framework for innovation strategy. They do a really, really good job of explaining how innovation should either be internal-driven, acquisition, partnership, investments, or collaborations. But first and foremost, innovation should be a deep organizational capability.

 

You’re the co-creator of several strategy tools for business model innovation that really speed up processes & help companies make informed decisions. Can you talk a bit about each model and about the main thing it helps with?


I’d like to point to 3 of our most popular tools:  the first – Three Levels of Business Models – is a great tool for building structure and portfolio around your business model innovation.

It has helped IT companies move from an hourly billing model to a portfolio of business models including one that helped dramatically increase profit margins.

Second is the Industry Shifts Map. This is a newly developed tool that we’re seeing great impact from its work. The Industry Shifts Map allows executives to better understand and act on significant industry inflection points and changes.

Third is The Transformation Test. This is a tool available in its first generation, and it allows executives to survey the company’s ability to lead large scale transformation. We are currently developing an online survey version of this to be tested out with key companies over the next year.

The market all over the world is changing rapidly and many business models are no longer viable. The most common advice companies receive is to reinvent and transform. What does that mean, beyond theory? Where to start from?


I’m so glad you asked that question. It’s the number one challenge many companies struggle with.

The starting point is to develop a strategy for the future. Develop a strategy that allows for much bigger change in your environment and industry. Develop a strategy where you decide on claiming ambitious positions in this new landscape, and finally develop the right transformational architecture inside your company. This requires the right people with the right mandate and tools, to create the future for your company.

We can no longer rely on legacy business models, but need to take aggressive and accelerated positions for the future.

We’re seeing this being done with clients in energy, utility, technology and industrials, but it really requires a top management team with ambitions for innovation and growth, rather than just more of the same.

To be successful, companies should start by building innovation capabilities and the right tools for innovation and transformation.

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All tools mentioned in this interview can be downloaded free at www.strategytools.io

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Engage // Innovate Expands to the Middle East

Seeing a growing a global interest, Engage // Innovate is strengthening its presence into the Middle East. Under the leadership of Tarek Fahmy, the global strategy & innovation consulting company will serve an increasing number of clients in the Middle East and North Africa.

“In the past 24 months, we’ve significantly increased our business in Asia and the region. Opening up a business in the region is just the next natural step for us,” says co-founder, Christian Rangen.

“We are privileged to have capacity like Mr. Fahmy joining us to build our client base in what is truly one of the most exciting and dynamic regions of the world,” says Mr. Rangen.

Building Transformational Capacity

Our entire team is truly excited by the strategic opportunities found in the global energy industry. While the transition away from fossil fuel, most of it oil, can be painful in the short term, we believe both companies and governments will benefit from it. Our work from the past three years on building transformational capacity has shown that companies can succeed on a large scale strategic change.

We’ve run projects on solar energy, smart city, electric cars, fish farming, space mining, drones, and the future of mobility — all as part of building transformational capacity.

See our client success stories here.

Serving Multiple Industries

Engage // Innovate serves clients in technology, energy, oil & gas, fast moving consumer goods, consulting & advisory, education, construction, and transportation. The company’s strategy tools and methodologies help executives navigate industry shifts, manage strategic inflection points, and develop a deep capacity for successful innovation.

The company’s services focus on three areas — innovation workshops & training programs, strategy and transformation projects, and a growing number of corporate accelerator programs to accelerate new business development and new ventures.

“We feel our portfolio of services is a good match for the challenges and opportunities to be found in the Middle East,” says co-founder Mr. Rangen.

Experienced Strategy Designer

Mr. Fahmy joined Engage // Innovate with a nearly 20-year background in management and advisory services, most recently coming from a position of a strategy designer with a global consulting company, where he helped develop programs, projects and served clients in the Middle East.

Growing the Business on the Ground

Engage // Innovate is already serving clients in the region and will significantly ramp up business development activities. Later this year, the company will host a number of workshops, keynote talks, and executive sessions for clients and potential clients in the region.

To engage our services or explore a partnership with Engage // Innovate in the Middle East and North African regions, please email Mr. Fahmy at tarek@engage-innovate.com.

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A Collaboration for Growth: Sri Lanka and Norway

Sri Lanka is a nation in transformation. Emerging from a 30-year civil war from 2009, the country has been playing catch-up on business development and innovation. It’s been 7 years, and Sri Lanka is running to make up for lost time and reach its full potential.

The result? An impressive 6.4% economic growth in recent years.

With its goal to move from a lower middle income country to a high income country in the next two decades, Sri Lanka’s government has implemented multiple reforms and set in place many business-friendly policies to improve the business environment. The economy is on the rebound, slowly but steadily.

 

Strategic Innovation for Sri Lankan Firms

The government is now looking to build a knowledge-based economy to lay the groundwork for the future of the country.

Their biggest challenge at the moment, according to PwC’s Academy manager Nuwan Dishan, is to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in both big businesses and small.

“Companies aren’t really sure how to implement an innovation department and go beyond R&D. How do you come up with new business models, new strategies, new products and services to revolutionize the industry?” he said in a recent interview with us.

Companies in Sri Lanka, like many others across the globe, struggle with managing innovation and transformation.

“We have many good ideas from individuals, entrepreneurs and startups. In fact, some of our local companies have made it to the global level. As an economy we need more of these companies dominating local, regional and ultimately global markets with strong brands.” Dishan revealed.

The biggest challenge most Sri Lankan entrepreneurs face is nurturing the good ideas into reality, into a commercially viable product or service through new business models that disrupt the market.

“In order to do that I think insights are critical not only at a local level but also at global level. Rome was not built in one day, similarly this would take time. Collaborations such as Engage // Innovate and PwC’s Academy will help companies get new insights to think in different angles.” he explained.

 

Last year, PwC’s Academy reached out to Engage//Innovate to run a Strategy Tools for Business Model Innovation workshop for some of the top business leaders in Sri Lanka.

Engage//Innovate founder Christian Rangen flew over from cold and gloomy Norway into the pulsating heat of Sri Lanka, and facilitated two intense days of learning in Colombo.

Participants deep dived into the current innovation best practices and strategies. They looked at updated, real world case studies and got hands-on with the strategy tools that’ll help frame their innovation strategy.

 

Christian Rangen’s Strategy Tools for Business Model Innovation Workshop in Sri Lanka with PwC

 

In just two days, they have laid the foundation for strategy and transformation within their companies.

Many of the participants found the strategy workshop so enlightening and inspiring that Engage//Innovate has once again been invited to run a new workshop, happening from Mar 8-9, 2017. 

 

“This programme has been quite fantastic. We thank PwC’s Academy because Christian has made us think in new dimensions in terms of innovating our strategy for the progress of our company. Our thinking has been changed after attending this programme.”
— Thilanka De Zoysa, Managing Director, Convenience Foods Lanka PLC.

 

Creating the future for Sri Lanka | Engage // Innovate Workshop with PwC’s Academy in 2016

 

Improving the Sri Lankan Economy through Innovation

With Sri Lanka’s goal to join the ranks of the high income countries — you need significant innovation.

Development of technology is an important measure for innovation, and as of 2015, Sri Lanka’s tech exports stood at just 1%.

In the Global Innovation Index, Sri Lanka ranked 91 out of 128 countries. It isn’t bad for a country that had battled 30 years of civil unrest, but it reflects the amount of work Sri Lanka has to do in order to secure their place in the future.

Engage//Innovate and PWC’s Academy play just a tiny role in the grand scale of things, but the abounding interest in the innovation programs is a reflection of the country’s voracity in striving towards change.

 

Connecting New Growth Opportunities between Norway and Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a potentially huge growth market for Norway in terms of renewable energy, wind, and fish-farming. There can be a lot to gain for businesses of both countries to work together, both in knowledge and resources.

“Norway is one of the world leaders in terms of energy and innovation. It is one of the innovation hubs in Europe. Norway has a lot to share with Sri Lanka,” said Dishan.

Engage//Innovate’s work in Sri Lanka is just beginning. We are looking forward to deeper, more impactful collaboration in the near future.

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If you’re in Sri Lanka and want to cement your place in the future, register for the March 2017 workshop by clicking the button below. 

 

We travel worldwide to run workshops and consult with companies. Interested in getting a conversation started?