Innovation Design Thinking for Office or Prime Minister

I had a chance to share my perspective on "Innovation Design Thinking" to the civil servants of the office of the Prime minister of Thailand. The 1 hour session went by quite well with many interesting cases and events from the current post of the PM2.5 air quality problem and the latest TV show. But what surprised me most was a question from the audience. It was not about innovation or approach to innovation. It was about how to run a successful KM program.

I told them that there is no single formula for success, what I could do was I could only share with them my insight and how I did it. So I started the story with how I got involved with KM and what was the first thing that I did when I accepted the post of Chief Knowledge Office. Of course, I started with laying the KM strategy and aligned it with the company vision and directions. I shared my perspective of how KM is treated as a system of information management, not as a knowledge management. I shared my story of how social technology was implemented to resemble the social platform, but nobody used it. I shared my story of how people think KM is a burden and the stored lessons learned is just information on a database system, awaiting for someone to access and use it with high hopes. That's the total failure of doing KM.

At the end, I suggested them to try to embed KM into the working process. If they can do that, the culture of sharing and reusing will come. I told them to make KM work was by doing it in a more aggressive way. KM should not be just another elephant in the room, sitting in a furthest corner in the office. Offensive KM by raising some important company agenda and do it the KM way by focusing on "Knowledge-Centered" approach from planning to acquiring, to utilizing to cultivating and measuring the outcomes. Entangle KM into project realization state-gate phases. Ensure the project cannot proceed into the next phase without any evidence of KM practice. Ensure budget is locked with the KM office to fund the activities.

It was the fruitful sharing and hope that will energize the government sector to re-think and re-ignite of how to approach the new way of doing KM.

Multidisciplinary Skills

Innovation as a Discipline

Cr: Jay Rao and Fran Chuan, 2013, The Discipline & Culture of Innovation, Profit Editorial.


“Innovation is a discipline and to address a discipline, organizational culture must be built.”


Innovation is not a buzz word. It’s here to stay. Innovation is a discipline, just like finance, marketing, management, strategy, economics, or IT. Innovation can be taught, trained, learned, and mastered. Embracing innovation as a discipline, organization must have the right culture to cultivate the values from the discipline.

In order to embrace innovation as a discipline into an organization, let’s look at how other disciplines are being adopted.

Discipline starts from desire, choice, and commitment

Desire to excel in a discipline comes from the drives of leaders. Desire of leaders comes with commitment for staffs to compel. The desire will then lead to the development of capabilities to excel in the discipline. Excellent in a discipline is a choice. A firm can choose to excel in a discipline. But not all firm has the same quality in the same discipline. Some firm choose to excel in marketing. Some in finance. To excel in an innovation discipline is a choice management has to choose.

Excellent in innovation need guidance from a pool of experts

People in a firm excel in different areas. Innovation is the capability that combines multiple kinds of expertise. To excel in innovation discipline, multiple kinds of expertise must be combined.

Broad understanding of principles and methods

Innovation discipline requires its own principles, frameworks, concepts, methods, tools, and language. These must be developed.

Mastering innovation discipline requires time and effort

It takes years to shift from knowledge → practice → discipline. To build up innovation discipline, proper training and effort of practicing. There is no shortcut or magic bullet.

Mastering innovation discipline requires the build of the right culture

Management cannot foster innovation, but only create the climate of being creative to bring about innovation. The heart of innovation is the corporate culture.

Innovation discipline is the discipline of social science, like marketing, art, management, leadership, or psychology. While accounting, finance, and IT are formal science. The formal science obeys the rules of nature, while the social science obeys no rules or laws. It has general principles, frameworks, tools, concepts, etc. Thus, approaching the development of innovation discipline as if it was like other formal science disciplines is wrong. It will only lead to poor result and frustration. The building of innovation discipline requires formal training and the creation of corporate innovation culture.

The metacognition of learning follows the path of:

Unconscious Incompetence

Conscious Incompetence

Conscious Competence

Unconscious Competence.

Going through this metacognitive cycle requires knowledgeto go from Unconscious Incompetence to Conscious Incompetence, it requires purposeful practiceto go from Conscious Incompetence to Conscious Competence, and it requires Perseverance to go from Conscious Competence to Unconscious Competence. These capabilities also can be known as Knowing/Doing/Being capabilities. Building innovation discipline involves the building of these capabilities too.

Myth or Fact

Innovation has been mistreated!


Over decades, innovation has been misconceived of being the work for the chosen ones, or the elite super geniuses. Many believes innovation comes from organization with brain power and wealth. Innovation naivety is still rampant among executives, managers and employees from organization of all sizes. Myths on innovation proceed the nature of innovation. These typical myths include:


  • Innovation is invention. Many believes innovation is invention. Only new novel product is considered an innovation. As the matter of fact, invention can lead to innovation. No doubt about it. But we have seen many inventions that do not have practical values. If we define idea or invention that has commercial value, then we call it innovation.
  • Innovation comes from R&D. Only the scientist in the R&D department can deliver innovation. R&D may introduce many new products. However, there are many innovations that can deliver the business value. New services or new business models can also be considered as innovation.
  • Innovation is technology. Innovation is not just about technology. It’s true that technology can help us do things better. But not entirely innovation must be driven by technology. It can come from the way that we do things differently.
  • Innovation can be bought. Technology or products can be bought. But innovation has to comes from your own creativity of seeing the same technology or products being used under different situations and contexts to solve different kind of problems or respond to different needs.
  • Innovation is luck. Innovation can be nurture and foster. Innovation comes from creativity and creativity can be trained.
  • Innovation is expensive. Innovation can be expensive if it requires expensive equipment and resources to build. But it can also be cheap or sometimes at no cost if the experimental mindset is accepted. Innovation does not need expensive labs. It just needs the attitude of trying and learning new things.
  • Innovations comes from a new idea-generating software. Many believes that state-of-the-art software like Big Data or Artificial Intelligence will brings new innovation at the click of a button. This is not at all true. Innovation comes from the brave mind of willing to learn and experiment new things.
  • Innovation is a process and it needs stage-gate process flow. Stage gate framework allows the process to flow. However, innovation needs new way of thinking. New way of doing things. Stage gate only ensure the proper process is visited, while innovation need a way to escape from the old routines. However, stage gate is not trivial. Once innovation is discovered, the process of adjusting resources and configuration the entire process still needs stage gate approach.


Innovation is illiterate by these common believes. This is from the fact that innovation is not treated as a discipline. Many firms leverage the benefits from innovation but did not seriously treat it as a management practice with deliberation and determination. Innovation can be systematically plan and execute.



กว่าทศวรรษที่เรามองนวัตกรรมเป็นสิ่งที่ถูกรังสรรค์มาจากคนที่เกิดมาพร้อมกับพรสวรรค์ จากคนที่เป็นอัจฉริยะ จากองค์กรที่มีเงิน มีความพร้อมในทุกๆด้าน สิ่งเหล่านี้ล้วนเป็นความเชื่อที่ผิดเกี่ยวกับนวัตกรรมทั้งสิ้น ความเชื่อเหล่านี้เห็นได้จากผู้บริหาร ผู้จัดการ และพนักงานจากองค์กรต่างๆทั้งเล็กและใหญ่


  • นวัตกรรมคือสิ่งประดิษฐ์:มีหลายคนเชื่อว่านวัตกรรมคือสิ่งประดิษฐ์ใหม่ๆ สิ่งประดิษฐ์อาจจะเป็นนวัตกรรมหรือไม่เป็นก็ได้ เราเห็นสิ่งประดิษฐ์ใหม่ๆมากมาย ที่ไม่มีคนเอาไปใช้ ดังนั้นถ้าจะพูดว่านวัตกรรมคือสิ่งประดิษฐ์ได้ก็ต่อเมื่อมันมีคุณค่าทางธุรกิจ ตอบสนองต่อความต้องการของลูกค้าได้
  • นวัตกรรมเป็นผลมาจากการทำวิจัยและพัฒนา:ความเชื่อที่ว่านวัตกรรมเป็นผลผลิตของนักวิจัย จากห้องแล็ปเท่านั้นล้วนเป็นความเชื่อที่ผิด งานวิจัยจากห้องแล็ปอาจนำไปสู่ผลิตภัณฑ์ใหม่ๆ แต่ในความเป็นจริงแล้วนวัตกรรมนอกจากมาในรูปของสิ่งประดิษฐ์แล้ว ยังอาจจะเป็นรูปแบบใหม่ของการให้บริการ รูปแบบใหม่ของโมเดลธุรกิจ หรืออื่นๆได้
  • นวัตกรรมต้องเป็นเรื่องของเทคโนโลยี่:นวัตกรรมไม่จำเป็นต้องเกี่ยวกับเทคโนโลยี่เท่านั้น ในนวัตกรรมหลายอย่างอาจถูกพัฒนามาด้วยเทคโนโลยี่ แต่ก็มีหลายอย่างที่เกิดมาจากการลองเอาสิ่งที่มีอยู่ไปใช้งานในวิธีที่แตกต่างไปจากเดิม ทำให้เกิดมุมใหม่ๆ ในการแก้ปัญหาใหม่ๆ ในสิ่งที่ไม่เคยทำมาก่อน
  • นวัตกรรมสาทารถซื้อได้:เทคโนโลยี่อาจจะซื้อมาใช้งานได้ แต่การนำเทคโนโลยี่มาใช้งานเพื่อแก้ปัญหาใหม่ๆที่ยังไม่เคยทำมาก่อน เป็นเรื่องของความคิดสร้างสรรค์เพื่อที่จะทำสิ่งใหม่ๆจากสิ่งที่มีอยู่เดิม ดังนั้นนวัตกรรมจึงไม่สามารถซื้อมาแล้วบอกว่าเป็นนวัตกรรมได้
  • นวัตกรรมคือโชค:นวัตกรรมสามารถสร้างได้ สอนได้ ทำเป็นกระบวนการได้ นวัตกรรมอาจจะต้องใช้โชคด้วยในบางครั้ง แต่การจะทำให้เกิดนวัตกรรมได้นั้นไม่ใช่โชค แต่มาจากการบริหารจัดการที่นำไปสู่การสร้างนวัตกรรม
  • การสร้างนวัตกรรมนั้นแพงมาก:การสร้างนวัตกรรมย่อมมีค่าใช้จ่าย มากบ้างน้อยบ้างตามแต่รายละเอียด แต่ในบางครั้งอาจอาจไม่มีค่าใช้จ่ายเลยก็ได้
  • เราต้องมีแอพพลิเคชั่นที่ใช้ช่วยในการสร้างนวัตกรรม:มีหลายคนคิดว่าการซื้อเทคโนโลยีมาแล้วแค่ “กดปุ่ม”ก็จะได้นวัตกรรมออกมา เช่นเดียวกับความคิดที่ว่าถ้าซื้อเทคโนโลยี Big Data มาแล้วจะทำให้รู้ปัญหาของธุรกิจได้ทันที หรือการนำเทคโนโลยีปัญญาประดิษฐ์มาใช้จะทำให้การตัดสินใจทุกอย่างเกิดขึ้นได้ทันที เหล่านี้เป็นความเชื่อที่ผิด นวัตกรรมเกิดได้จากการที่เรามีความรู้ความเข้าใจในสิ่งที่ทำและนำสิ่งที่อยากจะให้เกิดมาลองหาด้วยวิธีการหรือแนวคิดใหม่ๆ ไม่มีปุ่มวิเศษอะไรที่จะเนรมิตรนวัตกรรมได้
  • การสร้างนวัตกรรมนั้นเป็นกระบวนการ เราใช้วิธีจัดการแบบเป็นขั้นตอนในการสร้างนวัตกรรมได้: การสร้างนวัตกรรมสามารถทำเป็นกระบวนการได้ แต่การนำแนวคิดและบริหารจัดการแบบเดิมๆมาใช้อาจจะไม่เหมาะสม แต่นวัตกรรมเป้นกระบวนการที่ต้องสร้างต้องสอนและต้องทำ เมื่อได้ความคิดดีๆออกมาแล้วการนำความคิดไปพัฒนาจำเป็นที่จะต้องใช้การจัดการในการผลิตนวัตกรรมออกมา กระบวนการแบบเดิมจึงยังใช้ได้ ไม่ล้าสมัย แต่ต้องปรับใช้ให้เหมาะสม


นวัตกรรมเป็นสาขาความรู้ เป็นวิชาชีพ การที่มีความเชื่อที่ผิดๆแสดงให้เห็นว่า การมองเรื่องของนวัตกรรมเป็นหนึ่งสาขาวิชาชีพยังไปไม่ถึงจุดนั้น หลายองค์กรอาศัยความสำเร็จจากนวัตกรรมแต่ก็ยังไม่ได้มองนวัตกรรมเป็นอีกหนึ่งความสามารถทั้งที่นวัตกรรมนั้นสร้างเป็นระบบได้

I had conducted several workshops on Finding the barrier that block creativity in organization from being implemented. One of the activities that I asked the participants to do was to think of the good idea that they had but not yet being done. At first I asked them to think of work-related creative idea. The result turn out that only very few came up with ideas. But when I asked them to rethink of the good ideas, not necessary to be a work-related idea, the results turned out to be tremendous. Numerous ideas sprung out.

From my thinking, people have ideas. Some of them are good ideas that can bridge to the work. These ideas seem to be little knickknack, but it can improve the works that they are doing or even create good images or contributing back to socials or health. Ideas that seems to be non-work-related, can turn out to be beneficial to work if its get to be carried over. And above all, many think their ideas are not important, or not even worth the thought to lead to innovation.

So in this scene, innovation seems to be misperceived. Many people think innovative idea is the idea that make a great big change to the work, to the customer, to the company, to the country, or to the world. That's why when some of the workshop participants who are on the line of production or routine service, are reluctant to share their creative ideas.

When it comes to creativity, some people believe it's the nature of the one who was born with it. By this way, creativity is a gift that cannot be built. But that's not entirely true. So it is necessary to define creativity. Creativity, in many contexts, is a confusing word and are mixed up with invention and innovation. Clear definition and boundary are needed to differentiate these words.

Creativity is the ability to use imagination, experience, or the original idea to create new ideas that no one knows it's missing. By this definition, creativity is the new idea that may lead to many new actions, inventions, or innovations. In other word, creativity is the foundation to invention and innovation.

Invention is used for the invent of new things to the world. The new things can be a machine, device, technology, or process that has the novelty quality.

Innovation is the creative ideas or the invention that are put to action to have commercial value.

With this definition, Invention is not necessary an innovation. It is if the invention do not create the commercial value. We have seen many invention that are not commercialized or tried to commercialized but no one buy it.

Not Use Invention-Diet Water

Not Use Invention-DVD Rewinder

Not Use Invention-Umbrella for Shoes

Not Used Invention-Gold Fish Walker

We also have seen many innovative products that are not a new invention, but a combination of inventions to create a new value. The great example would be the Apple iPhone. Apple did not invent the phone or the mobile phone. Apple did not invent the music player. Apple did not invent the storage to store music. Apple did not invent the compression technology that make music into small files and preserve the sound quality. But Apple combined all these great functions together to make an iPhone, a mobile phone that has the functions of the mobile music players. This invention create commercial values that drives Apple to be the biggest tech company in the world.

iPhone Music Player

ThailandPost 2x2 Matrix

I was asked to run a quick expression of the vision toward a Mail and Post company and help with defying strategy and the driving mechanism, I used 2x2 matrix to gain understanding and identifying the interaction between the Post company and their customers.

The matrix allows you to take a look at how the Post company can do to offer the services and become the intermediary platform for all stake holders. The Matrix defines the reaction ship with Customer-to-Customer, Customer-to-Post, Post-to-Post, and Post-to Customer.

Customer-to-Customer allows you to look at when customers are interconnected with one another, how the Post can serve their needs. Post can start with e-commerce platform that allow the buying and selling of merchandises from one customer to another.

Customer-to-Post identifies what additional transaction the customers need from Post. For example, the Drop-and-Go service that allows regular customers to just come to Post office and leave their packages to be delivered at any time around the clock.

Post-to-Post takes the view of the back-end approach that allows Post to look at their interaction among business units in the Post, The interaction between business partner (B2B), and the interaction between Post and other government units (B2G).

Post-to-Customers allows the defining of the missing transaction that Post may counter offer to the customer proactively. For example, the scheduling for item delivery and pickup. The scheduling can be done online using current interactive communication app.

From the Matrix, the rough plan is drafted out to identify and prioritize the activities. The short, middle, and long term plan is the outcome. After the rough roadmap, the organization the drives the implementation of the strategy is defined.

For detail information follow the link (Thai):