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When people talk about innovation they talk too expansively and without good definitions. Innovation always reverts to whatever Apple did recently, whatever cool new technology or product someone produced. We need to move beyond talking about innovation to actually doing more of it, and when we do it we need to do it with purpose and intent. But beyond that we need to move beyond this narrow definition of innovation - a new product or service - to a much more expansive definition of innovation possibilities.
When done right, business transformations can solve major problems, the kind that often force you to take a make-or-break leap into the future. When such transformations go wrong, even after months of careful planning and implementation, the results are dispiriting. And so the prospect of a transformation is understandably daunting. That’s why when company leaders ask me where they should start, I tell them to start asking questions.
There are some standout companies that are now making significant strides in how machine learning can be used, setting themselves well above others in their industry. Keep your eye on these eight incredible companies this year to see how they incorporate this technology.
The Harvard Business Review article argues that companies can become industry leaders by going after one of these value disciplines (Customer Intimacy, Product Leadership, Operational Excellence), bb7 dares to argue that there is an area in business where you can succeed at all three value disciplines. That area is (naturally) product development. Yes; it's all about the product! We believe that, if your product development strategy scores in all three value disciplines, you will achieve market dominance.
Artificial Intelligence is already impacting every industry through automation and machine learning, bringing concerns that AI is on the fast track to replacing many jobs. But these fears aren't new, says Dan Jackson, director of Enterprise Technology at Crestron, a company that designs workplace technology. "I'd argue this is no different than when we moved from an agricultural to an industrial economy at the turn of the last century. The percentage of people working in agriculture significantly decreased, and it was a big shift, but we still have plenty of jobs 100 years later," he says.
Imagine a self-driving vehicle cruising down the road with a passenger in the front seat when a child suddenly darts out in front of it, Venable said. "Its only choices are to hit the child or swerve into a tree, which could injure its passenger. How do you program a computer to deal with these sorts of moral dilemmas?"
What sparks innovation? People. What sparks people? Inspired ideas that meet a need -- whether expressed or unexpressed -- ideas with enough mojo to rally sustained support. Is there anything a person can do -- beyond caffeine, corporate pep talks, or astrology readings -- to quicken the appearance of breakthrough ideas? Yes, there is. And what follows are 14 catalysts -- simple guidelines, principles, and approaches that will help you on your way.
We live in a society that values and rewards efficiency over creativity. Yet, the tasks that lead to efficiency are slowly being taken over by robots and bots leaving us humans to do things that are not repetitive in nature. As this happens, we’ll have more time to do what leads to creativity: daydreaming.
It takes two factors to make innovation real at an organization: concepts and culture. Work on both at the same time and the rest will emerge as a by-product of the process.
As the next generation of both patients and caregivers – including clinicians, doctors, nurses, specialists, even executives and administrators – starts taking a foothold in the healthcare workforce, hospitals looking for a first-mover advantage already know that AI is on the verge of becoming a critical component across the entire organization, and not just IT.
If your organization has lost the courage to move innovation to its center and has gotten stuck in a project – focused, reactive innovation approach, then now is your chance to regain the higher ground and to refocus, not on having an innovation success but on building an innovation capability. Are you up to the challenge?
I've developed a five step evolution for innovation in most organizations. With tongue firmly planted in cheek I'll relate these evolutionary steps to famous Hollywood productions. Perhaps you'll recognize your organization in one of these phases.
Artificial intelligence algorithms rely on training that involves thousands to trillions of data points. This means artificial intelligence doesn’t work all that well in situations where there is very little data, such as drug development. Vijay Pande, professor of chemistry at Stanford University, and his students thought that a fairly new kind of deep learning, called one-shot learning, that requires only a small number of data points might be a solution to that low-data problem.
We often forget it is our people that really make innovation work. They determine the ideas, drive these forward to deliver them as new innovation concepts into the world. People connect the fragmented pieces or dots within innovation from being random and intangible, into being explicit and tangible.
Innovation is what drives the world forward. It is what heals illnesses, protects individuals from danger, and makes life easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. However, innovation does not just happen. It takes a catalyst, and one of the most robust catalysts for innovation is design. It moves an idea smoothly along its journey from a simple insight to a tangible, marketable product or service. Design provides the focus and structure that innovation so badly needs.
The internet has revolutionised a lot of aspects in our lives; it has not only made several things accessible, but also changed the way we do many things. IoT or the Internet of Things is beyond just connectivity. It is a connection that is mobile, virtual and instantaneous and which is going to make things in our lives ‘smart’. IoT, coined by Kevin Ashton, revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication built on cloud computing and network of sensors that gather data.
The American Medical Association’s CEO James Madara, MD, famously called digital health the “snake oil of the early 21st century.” Rather than improving care and boosting professional satisfaction, many digital tools, he wrote, don’t work that well, and actually impede care, confuse patients and waste everyone’s time. Has data become a “four-letter word”?
EHR is one of the most sensitive pieces of information about a person and such data can wreck havoc in their lives if nefarious elements are able to access it. Blockchain solves the issue with secure storage of this data. Since there is only one source of truth for the data, each node (healthcare provider) in the system derives from it and stores a local copy with it. Each trusted node has a secret private key and a public key that acts as an openly visible identifier. A patient’s private key would be required to access the relevant information from the blockchain.
“Does the machine understand?” is highlighted in any current generation consumer machine learning algorithm such as an online chatbot, a translator function in your mobile phone or home speech assistant is that the current natural language processing consists of largely transactional one-way responses. It is perhaps a similar question that Alan Turing raised in the introduction of his 1950 paper “Can machines think?”. Yet “understanding” something within a context could mean different things to the act of “thinking” both narrowly or more broadly depending on the problem or frame space.
What comes into your mind when you think of creativity? An artist painting beautiful works of art? A designer with imagination and skills for contemporary architecture? An original thinker of the type lauded as a genius? Of course, creativity is all of these, but creative people also think of valuable and practical ways of doing things. They solve problems on a regular basis by employing creative thought. That is the kind of creativity that is exceedingly helpful in business and an incredible transferable skill for anyone who can master it.
While you may not necessarily need to make artificial intelligence the core of your operations right now, most experts agree that AI's role and importance in business will only continue to grow. Nine members from Forbes Technology Council each shared a way that companies can begin preparing for AI right now.
Disruptors face a fundamental paradox. To survive and grow, they need the support of the very incumbents whose industry they seek to revolutionize. After all, a TiVo box wouldn’t have been much good without a compatible TV or cable system to hook up to. But established firms have every reason to resist or even retaliate against an upstart firm that threatens their way of doing business.
What sets high-performing teams apart? Strong leadership? Skilled team members? Shared goals? Maybe. But what if we told you that one of the key drivers of team performance was how many women were on the team? Numerous studies continue to show the value that gender diversity has proven in boosting productivity and the bottom line within all levels of a company.
The recurring theme of failing to innovate in a corporate setting has more to do with the failure to find things and discover things. I'd like to address what you need to find and discover, because if we can name the barriers or challenges, we may be able to eliminate them and accelerate innovation.
I believe we’re moving towards a future where financial services and healthcare organizations will not be known as financial services and healthcare organizations any longer, but as technology companies. These technological disruptions are upping the stakes on the playing field, making it more important for companies to stay on top of their game, and to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
In an era of low growth, companies need innovation more than ever. Leaders can draw on a large body of theory and precedent in pursuit of innovation, ranging from advice on choosing the right spaces to optimizing the product development process to establishing a culture of creativity. In practice, though, innovation remains more of an art than a science. But it doesn’t need to be.
While an innovation strategy that suggests throwing a party to celebrate a failed idea seems outrageous, the message from the pharma companies is that it’s smart business. Even if your innovation success rate is dramatically higher, motivating employees to embrace risks vital for innovating can be challenging. Let’s suspend judgement and see the innovation strategy decisions certain pharma players are introducing to motivate taking risks.
One of the reasons big companies can’t innovate is they grow inert and can’t match the dynamism of the market. Markets are dynamic, companies are not. It’s very hard for companies to match the velocity, variance and selection of markets. As a business leader, a good question to ask yourself is: Are we changing as fast as the world is changing?
If AAPR and UNC can get 100 people to show up for pizza and soda for several hours of their own time to work on solving a problem, why can't businesses do a better job sponsoring innovation and tapping into the wealth of ideas and energy of their own people?
Innovation has been rapidly changing and much of its basics have been swallowed up by some newly defining frameworks that have raced up to the top of the innovation agenda. They have driven much of our thinking and reacting. It is right that we all respond to these but we often forget much of the rest of what innovation needs to be built upon.
The uncertainty advantage is an approach in which corporate leaders leverage disruptive change by making targeted, bold moves toward new market opportunities. It's a strategy that compels managers to perceive the unknown as a market differentiator and an opportunity to unleash innovative solutions that appeal to customers, investors, strategic partners, regulators, and competitors.
A large-scale study has just been published in the Chinese Language Journal of Quality. In effect what this study is showing are the close connections between having a learning culture, a concern with creativity and innovation capability and the performance of the organization. This is strongly suggesting that efforts to promote and develop a learning culture and develop innovation capability will enhance the performance of the organization.
The utilization of big data is the future. The companies that are embracing this are the ones that are thriving and creating truly game-changing innovations. In fact, 65 percent of the top innovators are either using social networks or big data to mine for ideas. Apple, Tesla, Netflix, Google, and more all know that it’s their consumers, unwittingly through their data, who will give them the next earth-shattering innovation. And because they know this and indulge it, they consistently stay at the top of their industries.
Innovators often create technologies or products, which have interesting capabilities or features, but rarely do they think through the actual use of the products and understand how they fit in with other products, services, infrastructure, channels and data that exist in a customer's life. These new products are often interesting but not "seamless" - customers encounter challenges when attempting to use these new solutions in their everyday settings.
We spend far too much time copying others and not deliberately setting about building our own ‘distinct’ capabilities and capacities to innovate, building the necessary building blocks through our own learning experiences. These are always shaped by the context and content of your innovation, the organization’s position, its resources, commitment and leadership appetite for innovation. Each of our choices takes up on our own evolutionary paths, we can never truly understand other ones because we never really “walk in someone else’s shoes” Copying only renders us the same, not a great ‘winning position in highly competitive market conditions, is it?
Open innovation will take on a new meaning as AI will scan internal and open data to find the best ideas. A.I. will replace up to 45 per cent of jobs within 20 years. There is a lot of talk about how such intelligent systems and chatbots will eliminate low level jobs, customer service and repetitive tasks. Let’s review, as examples, some actual practices where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already changing the way jobs are performed.
Probably the most persistent myth about innovation is that it is the product of a lone genius who experiences a magical moment of epiphany and changes the world. This can be incredibly appealing because it implies that, if we are one of the chosen, a great idea will come to us in a flash and the job will be done. Like unicorns, the Eureka! Moment is mostly a myth.
Soon everything will be connected and addressable — from thermostats to refrigerators to doorknobs. This will enable automation, even bigger data and new technology that is currently unfathomable. But this is just the beginning. Everything means everything and that includes us.
Open innovation–introduced by Henry Chesbrough, an adjunct professor and faculty director of the Center for Open Innovation at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley–focuses on a more open and collaborative framework for developing products, services, and more. By plugging in outside ideas along with internal thinking, it’s possible to take innovation to a new and better level. In many cases, open innovation intersects with startups, business incubators, joint ventures, spin-offs, and even crowdsourcing.
Ever felt the electricity of the group in an idea building session? That’s what true collaboration feels like. At the end of the session, no one individual feels like they own the idea/solution/concept. It has resulted from the contributions and building-block approach of the whole.
These three words, “I don’t understand…” alert us to niches. When designing products and services, we must play in those niches . And as we’ve seen, those niches can be comprised of millions and millions of people.
The Fidget Cube is a small device designed for people who often fidget. It really resonated with people, going viral and raising more than $6 million on Kickstarter. It was a blockbuster success, apart from one small problem. Because it was very obvious how successful the campaign was, other people could see that this product was going to be a huge success, with lots of demand. And this showed other people who didn’t have the idea itself that if they could get the same product to the audience first, then they could profit from this demand.
The guy who invented the first machine that pre-sliced bread in 1928, Otto Rohwedder, had a degree in optometry and worked in the jewelry industry. How did he come up with a machine that would revolutionize the baking industry when he wasn't even involved with it? Simple. He was presented with a series of dots and he simply drew the lines to connect them. The good news is that you can do this, too.
When I ask those business leaders what they’re doing to create more and better innovation, they usually answer in two ways: they are hiring better people and/or they are putting in place better processes. When I ask them what they’re doing to emotionally enable more innovation in their organizations, they usually look at me like I’m crazy or respond “what do you mean?”
Many executives have concluded that innovation is important and must become a cornerstone of their business strategies. However, they have little understanding of how innovation works. To them, innovation must seem like magic pixie dust: sprinkle it around, encourage it and new innovative products will spring to life. So, they take to the lecterns and advocate for innovation, but don't change deliverables or goals or investments. So people hear about innovation but don't see the requisite change in risk attitudes or investments, so they become conflicted. In this case, innovation is NOISE introduced to a consistent SIGNAL that is business as usual.
The tenet of each organization in the past has been in protecting its core. This is changing as the very core is changing to adapt to more volatile conditions, changing landscapes and more disruption. The core is not so much in what we know or own but in what we can learn from that surrounds our core and this is increasingly found at the edges and externally.
Whatever your line of business, you're never invulnerable to the arrival of innovative competitors. So, the question is this: what should you do between now, when you’re sitting snug and happy, to the moment when some competitor starts eating away at your business?
Innovation is one of the driving forces in our world. The constant creation of new ideas and their transformation into technologies and products forms a powerful cornerstone for 21st century society. Indeed, many universities and institutes, along with regions such as Silicon Valley, cultivate this process. And yet the process of innovation is something of a mystery.
It is no longer enough for a business to lean on their core competencies, making incremental improvements to maintain an edge on the competition. In order to be a true leader in any industry, a business must focus on creating killer innovations.
Young marines are put through an arduous obstacle course to prepare them for obstacles they may encounter in warfare, but the purpose of the course is to build confidence and teamwork. In the same way, corporate innovators should expect their ideas to compete for time, attention and resources - a corporate obstacle course - but they need to know how to guide ideas through this course effectively.
Ten questions for you to focus on assessing the state of your organization’s innovation program. Twenty minutes to learn something and take action steps. If you think your current program is working, non-existent, or just a disaster — you will learn something by taking this quick survey.
For me, the bedrock of innovation is built upon competencies, capabilities, and capacities and all these involve people as well as technology. They go hand in hand in our connected world.
We seek in our organizations transformation. We aspire to become more agile. We want to be able to change more readily and rapidly than the Digital Age demands. If we stay ahead of the curve, then we control our own destiny.
Innovations get adopted when people’s paths cross. And they need to be sticky and contagious. Put them out there so they’re easy to try. The best ones end up letting you see the world and yourself a little more clearly.
The truth is that innovation is never a single event. First, scientists need to discover new phenomena, like Fleming's early work with antibiotics. Then those phenomena need to be engineered into a viable solution to an important problem. Finally, the new technology needs to be be adopted by the marketplace. This process of discovery, engineering and transformation usually takes about 30 years. If we really want to understand what lies ahead, we need to start with discovery.
Innovation can sometimes seem totally intangible. It’s easy enough to come up with an idea that you believe will change the world, or at least your industry. It is putting that idea into action that becomes another ballgame. Developing a real product or service that can be sold or put into practice is a daunting task.
As a new technology matures and people become familiar with its uses, and the technology is simplified and becomes part of a solution, more and more people adopt the technology. Any student of history can tell you this, and we believe it is a natural order - almost a requirement.
So if there was ever a time to clear the existing innovation agenda and rework the entire space for innovating, it is about to become the pressing reality as we enter into 2017. We are moving from diverging into one of converging, we are at a changeover point for innovation.
Businesses that would like to lead their industry don’t just need any goal, they need a Big Hairy Audacious Goal—a BHAG. To create this type of goal, though, a company needs to abide by a few rules.
Leap innovation is a new way of looking at innovations in your organization. Leap innovation describes the importance of switching the innovation focus between product, process and business model innovations in order to get ahead and stay relevant.
In business as in life, nothing lasts forever—including the growth that high-tech juggernauts such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook have enjoyed in recent years. So when the growth inevitably slows, how can these companies manage the downshifting as adeptly as possible?
It worked flawlessly for 4 minutes and 25 seconds… And then it didn’t. The VP smiled and said, “I get the idea.” After getting through the embarrassment of the failure, the team learned what went wrong, and got to work testing variations of the failed component. The new versions didn’t fail, and the product went on to eventually make millions…
Established organizations want to better their operations, find a new way to go to market, increase customer loyalty or any other positive outcome that betters the business; with a predictable strategy. But better and different outcomes are not achieved in a straight line; chaos is the norm.
The thesis of this talk is that Creativity is a skill, not a gift. This practical advice starts with a promise from Boyd: “I’m going to teach you how to use your brain to innovate anyway you want.”
Business leaders tell us they feel great urgency to respond to rising market disruption with innovation, but knowing where and how to start can be daunting. A recent KPMG study of more than 400 U.S.-based CEOs found that 85 percent don’t believe they have the right amount of time to strategize about disruption and innovation.
To gauge the innovation capabilities of an enterprise, it is helpful to apply a systematic method for assessing the quality of, and the relationship between the various and distinct dimensions that drive all functions of the enterprise. As with a sports team, simply having talent does not ensure success. It is the quality of the team work which ultimately elevates or hinders the level of their play.
Hubbard proved to the world that setting a seemingly insurmountable goal is the way you achieve greatness. In today’s world, companies achieve innovation in a similar way. It is called the Law of the BHAG. By setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, organizations are able to provide their workforce with a singular vision and passion, one that gets the wheels of innovation turning.
Forget artificial intelligence. Forget the cloud. Forget everything you think you know about what will separate the winners and losers among business-technology vendors. The defining turf war of the next decade will be group chat.
This post is meant to point out the reasons behind a rather uncomfortable fact: even good ideas often fail in the marketplace. This skips right over the outright failure of bad ideas and bad products, of which there are legion. But why do good ideas and products seem to have such a high failure rate?
This past week I had a revelation… Innovation is hard because creativity is easy. Innovation is a second language that enables us to move beyond the first right answers to come up with unique solutions. It requires us to stretch our imagination, to reframe the problem, and to challenge assumptions. This is hard work!
The digital platform—connecting people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem through technology—is taking the business world by storm. The platform model powers many of today's biggest and most disruptive companies, like Amazon, Airbnb, and Uber. How can you begin to build a user base for a two-sided market when each side depends on the prior existence of the other?
Open innovation is reshaping the agricultural landscape. More than in other industries, agriculture has found the need to play technological catch-up. Advances in highly technical systems that use drones, sensors, and data analytics have created a demand for expertise not traditionally associated with ag. Consequently, most of the agricultural companies that are not currently taking advantage of open innovation will be doing so by the decade’s end. The rest may not be around much longer.
Incremental, discrete product innovation will not create significant new revenues or disrupt markets. The reasons include the growing expectation of seamless experiences from the consumers’ viewpoint and the rising importance of platforms and ecosystems in which new products or services exist.
Why don’t firms create more multi-sided markets if they are so profitable? Because getting all of the elements just right at just the right time is very hard to do successfully. Creating a successful multi-sided market requires a lot of skill and luck as will be explained below.
Most organizations are not setup to hire innovators, rather they filter them out. Why? Because they follow the tried and true solid advice for making good hiring decisions: hire for culture-fit.
In an increasingly digital and connected environment, leaders of established companies frequently find themselves facing opportunities that they—or even their industries—cannot seize alone. Instead of relying on start-ups to create innovations and then buying in to them, organizations taking part in this new process, which we call "ecosystem innovation," collaborate to develop and then commercialize new concepts.
While there's reason to be excited about Fit Driver and today’s other IoT products, be careful not to mistake hype for traction. Because creating a valuable product is so difficult, somewhere between 25 and 45 percent of all products fail.
Just delaying the start of your work or getting bored isn’t a guarantee that you’re going to pop up with an idea that will rival the invention of the telegraph or the iPhone. So what is it that fuels some individuals and organizations to be so innovative? Why does it seem some people get an extra helping of creativity or some companies can churn out innovative ideas seemingly every week?
As the US presidential candidates lay out competing visions for the country, I have been thinking about a topic they have not yet discussed in detail: what political leadership can do to accelerate innovation. Innovation is the reason our lives have improved over the last century. From electricity and cars to medicine and planes, innovation has made the world better. Today, we are far more productive because of the IT revolution. The most successful economies are driven by innovative industries that evolve to meet the needs of a changing world.
Our existing organization needs to envisage a changing world full of disruption that calls for radical change. To meet different challenges, to be highly adaptive it needs to begin to organize around ecosystems to deliver on a vision that recognizes it has to be part of a greater collaborating network to thrive in this highly connected world.
We usually associate an industry’s transformation with the adoption of a new technology. But although new technologies are often major factors, they have never transformed an industry on their own. What does achieve such a transformation is a business model that can link a new technology to an emerging market need.
We’ve seen that, all too often, people in business equate patience with negligence. In their minds, patience is the opposite of what’s needed to make big things happen. They expect innovation and progress to happen on schedule. But as Leo Tolstoy explained long ago, patience in innovation does not mean doing nothing. All it means is giving your team the time they need to produce results—and sometimes that means giving them a lot of time.
Every assumption is an innovation opportunity. The assumption that only a few of us is brave, creative and bold needs to be killed for everyone to make an impact in the Next Economy, one where most routine jobs will be delegated to algorithms and robots. The only thing we can’t delegate, and shouldn’t, is that what makes us human: creativity.
The big question is for me: Do we have to innovate with technologies or alliances? So today, I want to talk about accelerated growth factors, customer values, collaboration types, conducive knowledge, and connectivism. Yes, I didn’t say connectivity.
What should a roadmap that helps you develop corporate innovation capabilities look like? How do you bring new thoughts and approaches together with current and past initiatives (both successes and failures) and turn this into a single framework? How do you keep pushing and developing your organization to become more flexible and agile without losing out on the current overall efforts and expected results?
In a world of on-demand everything and overnight shipping, we’ve all but forgotten what it means to be patient. We’re so used to having the world at our fingertips that it’s hard to imagine, or even tolerate, waiting very long for anything. And unfortunately, we don’t check this attitude at the door when we walk into the office; most people don’t look at innovation and think, “Let’s just give this some time.” Like our Amazon packages and Netflix shows, we want them fast. We want innovation right now.
Take a look at any successful enterprise and you’ll find innovation at its core. That was just as true a hundred years ago when Henry Ford perfected the assembly line as it is today, when modern day giants like Elon Musk bring cutting edge technology to market. Innovation, as I’ve written before, is how people come up with novel solutions to important problems.
How many technological innovations have resulted in similarly drastic change or complete social evolution which was not envisaged at the outset. To name just a few: my grandparents’ generation saw the introduction of the telephone, my parents’ the television, more recently computing and the internet and now, in a time of ever accelerating change, smart phones and all things social. In each case, society was not prepared, for the impact of each of these advances as their applications evolved in unforeseen directions following their introduction.
Name at least 10 ways to use a brick. Take a couple minutes and write them down. Odds are, the first few ideas on your list are the same as mine. You also probably had a tough time getting past the first four or five, right? That’s actually totally normal. The first ideas are the ones that everyone has. The next ones are the ones that are the money-makers, the ideas others didn’t think of. So, how do you get past the first few ‘meh’ ideas and get to the good ones?
Ship and iterate. This innovation principle is the updated version of former Google executive Marissa Mayer’s 2008 “innovation, not instant perfection” innovation principle. “Ship and iterate” means to ship your products out to market early and often rather than waiting until they are absolutely perfect to take them to market.
The secret to changing an organization is to understand the fundamental units that make up the social system — these local tribes — and to invert the change process so that tribes own the change. To influence tribes in organizations, you have to give up control, and recognize that every change always goes through a process of localization as it gets executed.
In this post I wanted to explain my thinking through on this ability to be ‘ambidextrous’, knowing the difference of when to exploit and when to explore as essential to leveraging innovation, in all its forms and watching out for some of the traps in not managing this well.
Where fear runs rampant, innovation dies. Fear is mediocrity’s friend. It’s why most businesses rarely create new business models, they’re simply too afraid to try anything new because failure is not an option. To fail is to get fired. But, the bottom line is failure is a prerequisite for innovation, they go hand in hand.
An increased focus on innovation as a consistent discipline requires significant reflection on what needs changing, what impact this change will have and how do we proceed to implement it. This requires senior management attention because of the significant organisational impact.
Innovation Programs often fall victim to a series of unknowns and barriers resulting from gaps in the program itself. With this as a backdrop, it is important remember that how you set up your innovation program may mitigate some, but not all, of the barriers. Idea submission can be hindered by personal barriers. Potential idea submission can be prevented because of the lack of awareness that anyone is seeking a particular type of idea or the fear that they may lose ownership of their idea.
We managers and executives, trained in the school of efficiency and with our MBAs in tow believe we can "manage" anything. In to some degree that is correct. We can manage and improve things that are well defined and understood. But the risk we run when we talk about managing innovation, is that we become entranced with the idea of "managing" and not with the idea of "innovation".
In our "move fast and break things" world, we forget that the big innovations like Facebook and iPhones aren't flash-in-the-pan moments of genius. They take a lot of testing, making mistakes, and re-calibrating. It took nearly a decade for Gmail to go from its first versions to its final launch in 2004. And now we can't imagine sending email without it.
If you want to build a company that is a leader of innovation, creativity, and change within your industry, you need to have the proper resources to power it. Money, people, equipment, and time are all critical parts of the innovation cycle. Without them, you will never learn what your business is capable of doing: creating sweeping changes across your industry, making your business flow more smoothly, or simply offering advantages to your customers that you never dreamed possible.
Today one of the key challenges most companies face is being able to scale rapidly while still keeping their innovative startup edge. Startups have less decision-makers making it easier to take the risks needed to remain as innovative as possible. As these companies start to grow, they often experience a downturn in innovation as management layers increase. In fact, many larger corporations are now attempting to harvest the success of startups by creating small internal companies. This begs the question do you have to stay small to be innovative?
When it comes to R&D spending, corporate leaders often want to know what others are doing. How much are other companies in different industries spending on R&D? Leaders want to know the level of spending in absolute terms (i.e. total expenditure), and also as a percentage of revenue. The presumption is that R&D spending is somehow connected to increased innovation, revenue growth and profits.