Authors and thought leaders, submit your scholarly and informative articles about innovation. Add them to your Innovative People profile, or submit them independently. Add original articles, or link to content already available on the internet.
The pursuit of major innovations is often seen as a risky endeavor. However, there is a lower-risk way to commercialize certain types of high-impact innovations — by viewing initial applications as “lily pads” that a company can reach before leaping to the next market.
Long-term corporate success is not for the faint of heart. We have spent years examining the reasons companies seem to be strong at short-term execution but too often fail in the long run. We call this the “success syndrome,” and it has become widespread in Corporate America. Simply put, companies succeed in the short term because they create alignment for their initial strategy. To avoid succumbing to the success syndrome, corporate leaders must be ambidextrous.
Successful crowdsourcing is difficult and fraught with problems. To engage a crowd usually requires one to appeal to something else in people other than their desire to earn money. Even when offering compensation, surprisingly, people will often rather volunteer their time than accept a small payment to help others.
Solving all of the issues and establishing a well working innovation management system will support the growth of a company and it will create a good customer value and profitability. But they have to develop and improve their system continuously to protect their competitive advantage. Below I elaborate on some of these common innovation challenges and provide some guidance on how to solve them.
Any expert on the driving forces behind organizational innovation will tell you that leadership is one of the most important. In fact, I’ve discovered it to be one of the 7 Immutable Laws of Innovation, and a necessity for any institution looking to prioritize leadership.
Successful companies are always looking for new ways to compete in the marketplace. One approach, which has taken the corporate world by storm, is design thinking. Design-led companies such as Apple, Coca Cola, IBM, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 10 years by an extraordinary 219%, according to a 2014 assessment by the Design Management Institute.
So what does block innovation? Arguably there are plenty of things up and down organizations: a lack of resources, an overcrowded portfolio of ideas, a lack of dedicated people, treating innovation as one-off, keeping it isolated and apart from mainstream activities.
Innovators aren't born but they are shaped, more by experience than by training. Of course we can provide some training in any tool or technique, and try to enlarge the way people think when they encounter an innovation exercise. But the best way to make an innovator is to give them an intractable problem and remove the constraining barriers. Encourage them to think differently and come up with novel ideas.
A new mode of innovation is emerging that blurs the lines between universities, industry, governments and communities. It exploits disruptive technologies — such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things and big data — to solve societal challenges sustainably and profitably, and more quickly and ably than before. It is called open innovation 2.0.
Companies born before the internet took hold have an enormous challenge: improving their online products and services at the warp speed of their online competitors. The ability to make thousands of changes a day to its online retail service has been a key reason Amazon is expanding its online lead over Walmart and other historically “bricks and mortar” retailers. Amazon e-commerce revenue growth was 10 times Walmart’s last year in dollar terms, and 1.5 times faster in percentage terms.
I've been puzzling this over the last few weeks, trying to wrap my head around the importance of innovation generally and the lack of real innovation delivery specifically. What I mean is that everyone knows that innovation is vital to growth and future success, but very few new innovations are created. The vast majority of innovation effort and outcome is expended on me-too, so what incremental innovations that don't really change the user or the market.
It’s times of stress that really test the strength or weakness of your organization. During stressful times, you learn what the people in your organization are made of—but also whether the systems, functions, and processes you’ve put in place are able to withstand the crises that inevitably come your way. Industry shifts, market downturns, unexpected competitors: when stress comes, it shouldn’t make your organization or process fall to pieces. Instead, stressful times should be when positive discourse, growth, and resiliency thrive.
If you want to make progress happen, or be someone who brings good ideas into the world, this is for you. It’s the simplest, easiest, most straightforward way to convert your ambition into action. When I’m asked to give advice about managing creativity or how to make an organization “innovative” this is what I share.
In both physical fitness and innovation, bad habits undo the best intentions. A good workout comes to nothing if it’s followed by a super-sized meal on the way home. Likewise, the best innovation initiatives come to nothing if your organization gets a few basic things wrong. Bad innovation habits can undo the best innovation intentions.
For many business leaders — 85%, according to a recent Accenture survey — such open innovation is critical to their strategic plans. But many partnerships begin without due attention to what might go wrong, and the results show it. The challenges of big firm–small firm collaboration are considerable: different cultures, different attitudes about sharing intellectual property, different concerns about risk sharing, and others. So it’s no simple task to meet the strategic objectives of such partnerships.
Every entrepreneur and business executive knows that continuous innovation is required to survive, but most struggle with this more than any other challenge they face. They know they need to act proactively, but still are often blindsided by a new competitor coming out of the blue with a future they never imagined. Innovation driven by the next crisis is not leadership.
Failure can’t be separated from invention, it’s not optional. It’s also why you can’t mandate innovation, only inspire it. You can create the conditions necessary for it to happen, but it’s not a set-it and forget it deal.
Over a week in Silicon Valley, we met with more than 50 people deliberately chosen to give us a broad cross-section of insights. We spent time with established digital players, midsize companies and startups. These conversations highlighted some attitudes and values that seemed to go a long way toward explaining Silicon Valley’s innovation identity. Here are the ones that struck us most.
Here are five crucial ingredients that senior management should use to help their innovation projects succeed. When implemented together, these five ingredients can combine to promote valuable corporate innovation, in spite of the conditions that work against the success of innovation leaders within most large enterprises.
Why do we work in offices? You could cite a handful of reasons, such as having a visible “headquarters” for your brand or maintaining more control over employee schedules, but when it comes down to it, offices exist to encourage collaboration. We have board rooms to host meetings, break rooms to encourage teambuilding and camaraderie during downtime, and we maintain semi-strict hours (i.e., 9-5) to make sure everyone’s available in one place, just in case we need to ask a question or hash out a problem. So what if there was a better way to collaborate? Would we need offices anymore?
Why is it that innovation is so hard to seriously talk about in most companies? Everyone agrees that it's important. In fact, when IBM interviewed 1,500 CEOs on what they thought the most important leadership quality was for the next 5 years, the most commonly cited trait was "Creativity", followed by "Integrity" and "Global thinking". They agree that coming up with new ideas for their business was vital for its survival and growth.
“If you build it, they will come” only works in the movies. For the rest of us, it takes a concerted effort to build user demand for a product or service. Even if an innovation can dramatically improve lives, the intended user might not see it that way. And, of course, it can’t make an impact if people don’t know about it.
Is there a business person in the world today that doesn't want to be more innovative? We all know that the ability to consistently reinvent ourselves and the value we deliver in the marketplace - in other words, thinking like an innovator - is critical to success. And many people and organizations invest a great deal of time, energy, and resources into strengthening their innovation skills. So why is it that some of us find it so challenging? What gets in our way?
Jodi Goldstein heads up the Harvard Innovation Lab (I-lab), a collaboration and education space launched in 2011 to help develop students’ interest in entrepreneurship and innovation. A Harvard MBA herself, it’s her job to get students to develop bold creative ideas and bring them to fruition. She uses a cross-disciplinary approach to foster new ways of thinking.
Product-based disruptions have a strong “within the industry” effect; after all, being a serious threat or replacing the incumbent is a big deal. But platform-based disruptions have effects not only inside the industry but also well beyond industry boundaries.
No traditionally managed corporation would ever hire a Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Larry Page type of person. Why? Because genius needs to be left alone, to be unleashed, to operate in chaos. And corporations want to put a leash on anything that challenges the status quo; they are afraid of genius because they can’t predict and control it.
There’s plenty of advice out there about how to make it in Silicon Valley. Some things are required for innovation success anywhere in the world, but the valley is a special place with different rules. As someone who’s spent a lot of time there, I think there are a few important elements to Silicon Valley’s success that others should know about if they’re trying to bring their ideas to life there.
Innovation will always create disruption in existing conventions, economies and industries. This means that it will also destroy EXISTING jobs. It does not mean, however, that innovation is constantly destroying the net number of jobs. This is what the media tells you, and it is wrong. What does happen is that the type of job changes.
What’s missing from the managerial toolkit is a way for managers to allocate their—and their organization’s—time and attention and resources on a day-to-day basis across the competing demands of managing today’s requirements and tomorrow’s possibilities. But as anyone who has ever tried to lead innovation knows, the challenge goes beyond being ambidextrous enough to manage today’s business while creating tomorrow’s. There is a third, and even more intractable, problem: letting go of yesterday’s values and beliefs that keep the company stuck in the past.
How can a sophisticated organization be so committed to a life-or-death mission [innovation] but still not achieve it? This was our innovation paradox.
Here are three key lessons that characterize my experience at Apple and strike me as more relevant than ever today. 1) Consensus is not your friend. 2) Don't run back and forth seeking interim feedback. 3) Be wary of received wisdom.
To remain relevant in the competitive world of business, diversity is crucial to the success of a company as it can support businesses in continued growth and prosperity. New companies are emerging every day, and in order to stay ahead of the curve, it is important for business leaders and employees to come together and create a diverse workforce environment. Ultimately, diversity breeds innovation, which helps businesses achieve goals and tackle new challenges.
The World Economic Forum calls this era of innovation the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In January government and business leaders met in Davos, Switzerland to discuss how to navigate these unprecedented changes. It is a monumental discussion, because the reality is that these regular and system-wide innovations will continue to crack the foundations of traditional industries for years to come. Businesses need to recognize this and make sure that they will be nimble enough to succeed wherever change takes them.
It’s not just futuristic-looking products like Siri and Amazon Echo. And it’s not just being done by companies that we normally think of as having huge R&D budgets like Google and Microsoft. In reality, I would bet that nearly every Fortune 500 company is already running more efficiently — and making more money — because of machine learning. So where is it happening? Here are a few behind-the-scenes applications that make life better every day.
Innovating with customers should work well in B2B, as it should give companies a deeper knowledge of their customers and promote a trusting relationship. Unfortunately, it seldom turns out that way. Over and over again we’ve seen resources and time wasted on initiatives that die on the vine, destroying the trust that collaborative innovation ought to deliver while doing little to improve companies’ knowledge and performance.
Disruption is everywhere. From new digital business models and hyperconnectivity to the sharing economy, almost every industry is experiencing radical change. In the past, organizations could adapt fast enough to stay ahead of disruption. With digitization, however, the rate of change has accelerated beyond the ability of traditional companies to adjust.
Many studies have been carried out on what differentiates successful from unsuccessful innovation projects, dating back to the 1970s. One characteristic of products that fail in the market keeps coming up and seems to be one of the dominant causes of failure: The product solved a problem the customer didn’t have.
Engaging in actual innovation is far from easy. There is experimentation, testing, tinkering and—sometimes—significant risk-taking. Often, the outcome is failure. In short, innovation with its risk of failure is SCARY.
If you're running an established business, you may feel that you've painted yourself into a corner. You've grown a customer base using the business you created and it's too late to go back. But as you watch new competitors come in and steal those customers away, you may realize how important it is to reinvent yourself every now and then. Here are a few ways you can use startup thinking to win the market, no matter how long you've been in business.
Open Innovation is based on the fundamental idea that useful knowledge is now widespread throughout society. No one organization has a monopoly on great ideas, and every organization, no matter how effective internally, needs to engage deeply and extensively with external knowledge networks and communities. An organization that practices open innovation will utilize external ideas and technologies as a common practice in their own business and will allow unused internal ideas and technologies to go to the outside for others to use in their respective businesses.
There are three reasons why Open Innovation works. First, in the traditional approach, the reliance is on deep vertical integration and internal R&D networks for innovative success. In the open innovation approach, there is much greater reliance on connection, collaboration, and partnerships for innovative success.
Organizations today are in constant flux. Industries are consolidating, new business models are emerging, new technologies are being developed, and consumer behaviors are evolving. For executives, the ever-increasing pace of change can be especially demanding. It forces them to understand and quickly respond to big shifts in the way companies operate and how work must get done. In the words of Arie de Geus, a business theorist, “The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”
Increasingly, though, significant players in their industries such as General Electric, Mondelēz International, Johnson Controls and Siemens have incorporated OI as a core process – not just for discrete situations. Instead of cracking the doors to R&D just enough to allow the rest of the world to peek in, they’ve flung them wide open. As a result, innovation flows through their organizations and powers them forward on a daily basis. How did they get comfortable with being so transparent? What did they realize that many of their competitors do not?
Breakthrough innovation typically starts at the edges of the bell curve in the challenge of a crisis or the prospect of an outstanding opportunity. This is because the risk of deviating from the standard way of doing things and the reward of taking a chance on something new is reversed in these extremely negative and positive situations.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/business-innovation/walking-tightrope-innovation-bell-curve-01462672#TQj1d3w2DR10obmO.99
We’ve all been there—someone pitches an idea, and it’s met with enthusiasm. Everyone is excited! The company wants to evolve; the company needs to evolve. A plan is quickly put in place to turn this fresh idea into reality. But, well, then the company starts acting like a company again. Over time, the idea loses all its momentum until it’s no longer the shiny, innovative idea it started as. It gets dialed back again and again until it’s completely unrecognizable, and it dies a slow, silent death. The company returns to its status quo.
“Many leaders fall into the trap of trying to tackle innovation challenges simultaneously, which confuses things,” said Ms. Mesaglio. “Instead, it’s critical that they ask themselves these three questions in this order.”
How do we get a better understanding of who is merely talking about innovation, and who is actually practicing it? Beyond that, is there a way to determine who is merely sustaining a veneer of innovation, and which firms are driving innovation into the core of their business? Can we create a barometer of innovation capability and engagement? I think the answer is "yes", based on evidence we can observe and measure.
Guive Balooch breaks down the processes behind creating globally impactful ideas and products, the passion it takes to make innovation happen, and how his team of brilliant - yet disparagingly different - minds come together to push L'Oreal to the edge of possibility.
The pursuit of innovation doesn’t depend on genius. Instead, it demands ingenuity — the ability to come up with solutions that are original and clever given the constraints that you and everyone else face.
Experience is what you get just after you needed it. Or so the saying goes, suggesting that if only you had known beforehand what you learn afterwards, you would have avoided mistakes and achieved a better result. That’s largely true (in my experience!) but it isn’t a blanket statement that’s applicable in all cases.
Someone in your firm comes up with a great idea -- is your first thought to keep the intellectual property confined within the enterprise firewall, or would you rather share those ideas with external partners, peers, and even competitors?
Unlike design thinking and crowdsourcing, which rely on the art of ideation, my process is rooted in the art of criticism. Instead of soliciting early input from customers and other outsiders, it engages a company’s own employees. It helps them articulate their individual visions and then compare and discuss their contrasting perspectives in order to distill them into a handful of even better proposals. The views of outsiders are sought only at the end.
Today’s leaders are challenged with making important decisions in a rapid and highly dynamic business environment. These decisions will be crucial to the survival of the existing business model, while also to the search and discovery of future growth engines. But the current process where leaders narrow down possibilities and choose from the best existing alternative is broken. It results in a business culture that values refining and polishing an untested idea that does little to reduce risk or uncertainty.
There are 2 tactics for corporations looking to launch new startups. The first one is called Pull, it relies on identifying relevant existing startups in the startup ecosystem, to “Pull” startup, knowledge, founders and even capital toward the corporation. The second one called Push fits well the corporate taste for control, in that case the corporation “Pushes” ideas, capital and products outside in the form of a startup.
The most creative people in the world--think Einstein, Picasso, and Steve Jobs--didn't get their best ideas by waiting around for lightning to strike. So how do you engineer more creativity when you need it?
Last week, IBM announced that it lead the list of companies receiving US patents for the 23rd consecutive year. IBM’s patent leadership is extreme. It not only consistently tops the list, but outpaces the number two company on the list, Samsung, by 50%. That’s pretty impressive.
For large companies trying to keep up with the pace of innovation, the biggest challenge isn’t the competition. It’s adapting their sclerotic businesses to rapid change.
Are all innovators alike, and can we all learn and develop the skills to become innovators? Yes. I’m big on fundamentals, and though you can’t create a Mozart or David Bowie, you can unleash your innovation capability by applying the skills necessary to be creative and innovate.
Thinking like a futurist means being in a constant state of learning, absorbing emerging trends and concepts, then considering the impact they might have globally as well as longer term. It means being open and receptive to change, both within your organization and outside. It means considering future possibilities, not just what’s happening right now.
Not all entrepreneurs are innovators, only a handful. The result is that the vast majority of businesses out in the world were not born from creative ideas, rather derivatives. And when these non-innovative businesses want to explore innovation, they enter a dilemma: In order to innovate, an existing business must keep running the core business while also trying to find the revolution; exploit and explore.
Innovators and analysts have apparently decided that trying to convince organizations to simply become more innovative is too difficult. Innovation distracts from highly efficient day to day operations. Therefore we innovators, and other management thinkers, create a new way to think about introducing innovation, acknowledging the importance of efficient operating models while emphasizing the importance of innovation.
Zipcar counts as a disruptive innovation. Uber doesn’t. The latter is according to Clayton Christensen, Michael Raynor, and Rory McDonald in their recent HBR article “What is Disruptive Innovation?” The authors explain that disruption “describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.” They also write that “disruptive innovations originate in low-end or new-market footholds.”
I'm reading a lot about "disruptive" innovation from firms that I think have a lot to protect and preserve. When I read that, I become fairly suspicious, because I'm not sure it's possible to simultaneously protect what is "important" and disrupt at the same time, unless the disruption is taking place in a market or business adjacent to or distant from whatever the corporation is trying to protect. Can you simultaneously protect and disrupt the same product, segment or market? I think the answer is "no". So what are all of these corporations disrupting?
The idea that a team should be made up of representatives from contributing divisions (such as marketing, sales and engineering) is being replaced with the concept of bringing together a hacker, a hustler and a hipster. The thinking being that the hacker creates rapid prototypes, the hustler engages customer feedback to capture users, and the hipster frames beautiful user interfaces and brings important connections to the team. While this team structure is well suited to startups working on a blank canvas, it ignores the unique challenges faced by companies with established products and services.
There are areas in the research on teams where the findings are all very clear, as are the prescriptions for leaders. Creativity and innovation are not among them. We know how some factors affect creativity and innovation, but we’re only just beginning to understand some of the more complex relationships.
While many CEOs have excellent intentions of inspiring their employees to be innovative and creative, putting those intentions into practice takes hard work and truly active leadership. By definition, the CEO has to concern himself with high-level executive functions at the company he’s running. He can’t be involved in every detail of every project in every department, nor should he be. But too often, this position keeps the CEO totally out of the loop of internal communication, and the places in the company where innovation is or should be happening.
One of the biggest challenges in any business, large or small, is overcoming the natural human preference for status quo, or fear of change. It means that most team members and executives alike have a natural tendency to prefer killing innovations rather than implementing them. Even customers, while they all want the next big thing, want it to happen with minimal new learning.
The ability to automate work and use artificial intelligence to augment everyday tasks is now here. And, the nature of change in the workforce is accelerating as robots start to walk outside factories, the whir of drones grows louder in the air, and driverless cars are poised to join us on the streets in cities nationwide.
On the evening of April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the north Atlantic and sunk two hours and 40 minutes later. Of its 2,200 passengers and crew, only 705 survived, plucked out of 16 lifeboats by the Carpathia. Imagine how many more might have lived if crew members had thought of the iceberg as not just the cause of the disaster but a life-saving solution. The iceberg rose high above the water and stretched some 400 feet in length. The lifeboats might have ferried people there to look for a flat spot.
Most efforts to change an organizational culture fail. Efforts to create an innovative organizational culture are typically even less successful. Yet some succeed. One extraordinary example is SRI International (SRI), the creator of Siri, the personal assistant on the iPhone.
Innovation – the word that's on everyone's lips right now as organisations grapple with the realities of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in today's somewhat turbulent world. But innovation doesn't just happen by "being more innovative" or hiring creative types and putting them in special "innovation" teams. For innovation to happen, a considerable body of research shows that there are certain organisational conditions that must be tackled.
A report by Accenture noted that one beacon that has drawn large companies and entrepreneurs together is “open innovation,” a concept introduced more than a decade ago that has since become a catchphrase for a broader and deeper form of collaboration. Yet they contend in this report that large companies and entrepreneurs believe collaboration and open innovation are, as yet, under-delivering on their promise. One reason for this shortfall is the fact that open innovation is a journey of multiple phases. Too often, large companies remain stuck in the early phases—those that primarily involve corporate ventures and incubators or accelerators. Too seldom do large companies collaborate in a spirit of joint innovation.
Although most organisations acknowledge the desperate need for change, they are still at a loss when it comes to taking action. Workforces are a goldmine for the insight needed to drive change in an increasingly competitive business environment - but this knowledge must be captured to unlock innovation.
Unfortunately, disruption theory is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success. Despite broad dissemination, the theory’s core concepts have been widely misunderstood and its basic tenets frequently misapplied. Furthermore, essential refinements in the theory over the past 20 years appear to have been overshadowed by the popularity of the initial formulation. As a result, the theory is sometimes criticized for shortcomings that have already been addressed.
The problem is that technologies for collaboration are improving faster than people’s ability to learn to use them. What can be done to close that gap? A year ago we set out to find the answer, drawing on the collective experience of dozens of collaborative communities and learning organizations. Here’s what we found.
The pursuit of innovation has pushed large companies to launch accelerators, incubators and hackathons. Some companies succeed in finding new ideas and others don’t. Why the disparity? How can companies crack the code and reap the most benefits from these investments? There are no easy answers, but there are a few necessary elements.
The last 40 years have seen an explosive adoption of new technologies (social media, telecom, life sciences, etc.) and the emergence of new industries, markets and customers. Not only are the number of new technologies and entrants growing, but also increasing is the rate at which technology is disrupting existing companies. As a result, while companies are facing continuous disruption, current corporate organizational strategies and structures have failed to keep pace with the rapid pace of innovation.
Sooner or later it occurs to the leaders of nearly every organization that their own employees should be a source of ideas that can improve their businesses. They then set about to tap into this valuable source of knowledge. Many of their efforts go astray, however, and result in idea systems that fail and are even counterproductive, in that they demotivate rather than motivate. Why do they go wrong?
Open innovation presents more efficient working that can benefit projects both large and small, and across international borders. As seen with Sponge UK, cross-team collaboration maximises the use of individual skillsets and strengthens project delivery. This approach can be applied to any sector, and can also be used to deliver efficiency in large projects.
Why should you expand your network and what do you expect to gain from it? Too often, we see companies, teams as well as individuals, who network just for the sake of it. There has to be a purpose to our networking efforts if we want to maximize the value we get out of it. If not, this can be one of the major suckers of the resource that is so precious to all of us; time.
Government funding of basic science has long been regarded as the foundation of the technological economy and thus an investment that returns far more in economic growth and other benefits than it consumes. Mr. Ridley says no, this is all wrong. The returns on publicly funded R&D are negligible. Patents and Nobel Prizes are “fundamentally unfair things.” When a government pays for scientific research, it actually harms science itself by crowding out the “good” science that corporations and philanthropists would otherwise fund on their own.
“Innovate or die” has become almost a mantra for companies in this era of rapid technological change and globalization. When we consider such conditions as extreme air pollution in Beijing, factory collapses in Bangladesh, drought in California, and deadly heat waves in India, the darker side of this foundational belief stands out in high relief. Yet we continue to settle for and cling to consumption-based business models that add to these global threats. Many large companies have survived and thrived for decades by selling high-calorie, sugary drinks or distributing apparel made by people working in extreme poverty for unfair wages in unsafe conditions.
Do you actively express interest in wanting to know more about something? Are you constantly testing your campaigns to uncover trends and patterns? Do you find yourself asking a lot of questions? People that are curious by nature tend to fall into this category. And they're often the kind of person you want on your team, representing your company, and building out your brand. Why? Because they work hard, they learn, become more efficient, and ultimately solve problems -- both for themselves and for the customer.
I study disruptive technology, specifically innovative technology that gains so much momentum that it disrupts markets and ultimately businesses. In the past several years, disruptive technology has become so pervasive that I’ve had to further focus my work on studying only disruptive technologies that are impacting customer and employee behavior, expectations and values and affecting customer and employee experiences.
One of the most common excuses we hear from folks who are reluctant to embrace innovative thinking is that they "are not creative" or not "right-brain thinkers." We like to gently remind them that the ability to think innovatively is in fact a learned skill, and can be improved with rigorous practice. In fact the old myth of right-brain versus left-brain predominance is incorrect. New technology is allowing researchers to begin to identify the brain processes and structures that are involved in creativity: While there are still many unknowns, evidence points to it as a combination of several cognitive processes instead of just one.
Frugal innovation is associated with resource-constrained and low-income emerging economies such as those of Africa, India, and China, but we have recently seen the rise of frugal innovation efforts in developed nations including the U.S. and in Europe. These are not primarily cost-cutting measures, a response to financial constraint or a tepid economy. Rather, across the developed world, companies are beginning to use frugal innovation as a growth strategy.
Over the past several years, we have compared successful and unsuccessful innovation teams in a dozen global organizations. One of our key findings was that teams functioning more like machines – blindly following highly defined processes and execution plans — were the least effective at achieving their goals and coming up with innovations. The most successful teams, on the other hand, operated less like highly efficient machines and more like ant colonies.
Exciting as it may seem, when you get down to it, creative work can be a grind. It requires chair time, focus, sitting through the discomfort of uncertainty, and resisting the temptation of countless distractions coming at you from all directions. "I don’t kid myself into thinking that it's supposed to feel good all the time," says Gilbert. "One of the delusions people have is that creativity is supposed to be a fun life. A lot of the work is very tedious."
No matter how popular and beloved your brand may be, its survival depends on your organization’s ability to adapt. Postmortems on companies like Blockbuster Video and Borders Books have pointed to issues with organizational structure, capabilities, and technology. But at the center of those corporate demises is the failure to innovate. Through more than a decade of innovation training with the world’s top organizations, I’ve isolated five innovation nightmares that, if course-corrected early enough, don’t have to result in imminent doom.
Perhaps we ought to take a deeper look at how Uber might expand into different industries and become a frontrunner in the on-demand economy (ODE).
Innovation calls us to do the impossible: to build for a future we can't yet see. The very notion of innovation is riddled with paradoxes. It asks us to embrace wildly different--even contradictory--ideas at once: creativity and pragmatism, foresight and hindsight, breakthrough visions and incremental change.
“Innovation is one of the main buzz words in business today with 80 percent of CEOs saying it’s the most important thing for their business, but only 10 percent say they are any good at it.” John Coyle, Maddock Douglas. Maddock Douglas has isolated common hurdles and pitfalls that predominantly account for this cavern between the stated innovation priority and tangible outcomes.
Our whole understanding of innovation is changing; there are numerous shifts occurring. We are opening up our thinking in where and with whom, to collaborate.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, research and development was a highly guarded and elite practice. Imagine laboratories peopled by white-coated scientists who had passwords to protect the doors to their office. This kind of research and innovation was highly successful for a long time – it gave us electrocardiography, DNA fingerprinting, and many Apple products. But with the advent of the internet and online collaboration, things like intellectual property, organizational boundaries, and the identification of new markets became a much more public and shared experience.
Success in innovation isn’t going to happen overnight, nor does it happen as a matter of chance. There’s nothing preordained about successful innovation. There are a number of factors that can contribute to the ultimate success or failure of your latest idea, but the basic formula that I’ve learned over the years is: success = idea + hard work + timing + luck.
Successful businesses grow. Through better products and processes, they win the favour of customers, increasing their volume and margins. That success often translates into further advantages as they invest in new and better equipment, develop expertise and gain bargaining power with suppliers. So it’s curious that so many successful businesses fail. Today, in fact, only 13% of the original Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are still around.
As I look to write on the topic of “Leading Innovative Change” within schools, we are looking to develop educators as innovators. To be innovative, you have to look at yourself as an innovator first, and to create schools that embody this mindset as a “culture”, we must develop this in individuals first.
When asked recently to name the one attribute CEOs will need most to succeed in the turbulent times ahead, Michael Dell, the chief executive of Dell, Inc., replied, “I would place my bet on curiosity.” Dell was responding to a 2015 PwC survey of more than a thousand CEOs, a number of whom cited “curiosity” and “open-mindedness” as leadership traits that are becoming increasingly critical in challenging times.
No matter what profession you’re in, it’s important that you’re able to think creatively and look at your work with fresh eyes every day. Unfortunately, however, it may feel like a challenge to constantly be at the top of your game. The common question I get is “what exercises do you perform to keep your creative muscle in top shape?”. Here are the set of daily warm-up exercises I do to keep my creativity in top form.
High performing teams seem to generate their own energy and elevate everyone on the team to their full potential. Despite achieving more, work on these teams seems less taxing, the workday shorter and less frustrating. Low performing teams are plagued by dysfunction and produce more frustration than progress.