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It is my experience that most corporate innovators – and corporate employees in general – work in a very special box with a clear mark on it. It says URGENT! We are stuck in the “urgent” box. Everyone is just too busy and this is a problem in particular with innovation as you really need to get some down time to reflect on what is happening and what can be done differently next time.
What's interesting about AirBnB, and another major industry disrupter, Uber, is the fact that they are offering a competitive service to consumers in a long established industry - hoteling for AirBnb and cab or car service for Uber. And both have practiced innovation through subtraction.
The argument most academics and MBA’s make about competition is that it is good for everyone, not just the customer. By competing, the logic goes, businesses become better. Yes, competition makes us better, but only when we are caught by surprise.
Innovation has become for many people a magic elixir, capable of solving a whole host of problems. Declining revenues? Innovation! Falling market share? Innovation! As if we don't need to worry about the underlying reasons for business challenges, only focus on innovation as a cure-all for everything. I purposely titled this blog post snake oil, placebo or wonder drug, because there's a necessary and ongoing debate about what innovation is.
How will science and technology affect our lives in the next decade? Thomson Reuters resources, including the Web of Science and Derwent World Patents Index, with their coverage of current concentration and accelerating trends in today’s research and innovation, provide a look ahead with these 10 predictions.
A 3-D printer can already make a prototype or spare part out of metal or polymer. Researchers at Princeton University have now taken an important step toward expanding the technology’s potential by developing a way to print functioning electronic circuitry out of semiconductors and other materials. They are also refining ways to combine electronics with biocompatible materials and even living tissue, which could pave the way for exotic new implants.
There has always been a consistent call to automate the innovation process. Now it might turn into a stampede, based on real ‘digital’ need. We have made solid progress in the use of out-of-the box software for capturing ideas at the ‘fuzzy front end.’ We have developed pipelines and use product life cycle software systems to manage this through to commercialisation. Yet today we still have a fragmented, often broken innovation process, very reliant on the manual processes, where the human intervention dominates. Can this be changed? Technology must form a greater core of the innovation process.
Yesterday, I was a judge for a showcase of projects from marketing students of a local university. Most of the projects that were pitched are apps that exist elsewhere in some form; nothing game-changing. There were many common innovation myths that were present in many of the pitches, such as “our competitive advantage is being the first ones in Mexico”, “our competitive advantage is there isn’t something like this anywhere”, “our competitive advantage is we have no competition”.
First of all, being first doesn’t matter; being right does.
Whenever situations like these come up, I tell people that they should remember about what approach to innovating they are taking. As a rule of thumb, there are three ways to come up with a game-changing innovation.
I listened with great interest to the recent announcement by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement of the new passion for innovation within the US Department of Defense.
There are few organizations that have relied so heavily on research and development, new technologies and innovation as the United States military.
There are different types of innomediaries and the way they set up their specific services may differ from one innomediary to the next but in general innomediaries help innovating companies to find solutions for specific innovation needs, find buyers/licensees for existing IP, gain insights from subject matter experts, develop Technology Landscapes and Roadmaps, create new products, apply OI throughout the organization.
Software that can “evolve” novel component designs could help designers and engineers by automating part of the creative process.
The California-based company, Autodesk, already makes 3-D software that’s widely used in architecture, engineering, animation, and other industries. But Dreamcatcher takes a novel approach known as “generative design.”
Time is of the essence, and using the precious time effectively matters to coaches. But the vast majority of us live on corporate time, not sports time. We don't compete in televised events on the weekends, but instead compete every day, every minute to drive more revenue and more profit for our employers. Time is just as precious in this setting as it is in the sports world, and how we use the time allotted to us each day matters. More important, I think, is how we decide to divide the time we have, and how we strategically determine what to do with those allotments.
Presented the first mathematical method of measuring ideas, waiting for since 1670.
Turning ideas into numbers and know the characteristics of Ideal Idea (0.00iur) is like having a compass and know the safe harbor to where converges the minimal risks of innovation. Identify mathematically the desired ideas by user, extracted from the simplified mathematical formulation, is the Holy Grail that eliminates uncertainties, passionate discussions and unhelpful in choosing ideas.
If we believe we can make a difference and even have gone that one step further, many never seem to get there, where we have an intentional process to get us to new relevant solutions that do actually create a positive impact. Then we are getting closer to that ‘magic point’ of transforming ourselves and those complex challenges, into opportunities to be designed and developed to make that difference. Now that would not be such a bad place to be.
Almost always great new ideas don’t emerge from within a single person or function, but at the intersection of functions or people that have never met before. As a business leader, you can engineer these connections; serendipity.
Imagine that your organisation currently doesn’t innovate at all, but you’d like to do more (this might not be much of a stretch for some of you). What’s the best first step?
The definition of creativity is developing an idea which is both unique (new) and useful. And this is what sets the Lion Man apart. The figurine has the head of a lion, but the body of a human. This creature does not exist, and therefore it would have been impossible for an early human to simply be copying the image of something they had seen.
Defining the organizational purpose and promoting organizational alignment are two key factors for creating a culture that supports innovation. In this series of articles focused on Innovation Culture, we are going to share insights and cases of organizations that implemented innovation programs (and less structured initiatives) with the involvement of a wide range of managers and employees.
Collaboration is essential for long-term innovation. Working together and sharing information enables employees to draw on expertise from the entire organization, avoid costly mistakes, and ultimately achieve a collective goal.
“I think there are individual differences in our propensity to be creative,” says Wharton marketing professor Rom Schrift, “but having said that, it’s like a muscle. If you train yourself, and there are different methods for doing this, you can become more creative. .."
Leadership starts from within. People are the biggest barrier to innovation. Be it the executive who dominates every conversation, the one that talks but doesn’t walk the talk or the one that kills all ideas just because it’s not in his/her best interest.
I've long wondered why innovation is considered a transactional activity rather than a engaging philosophy or "way of life". Too many people view innovation as something to do only in emergencies, when a competitor steals a march and wins new customers or introduces a new product.
Innovation is executing new ideas to create value.
If you think about that, you can see that time is important – you can’t do all three things instantaneously.
Here are two important ideas:
1. Within an organisation, innovation is the process of idea management.
2. New ideas diffuse along an s-curve.
If we put these two ideas together, we can see how time works in innovation.
Congratulations! Your energy and track record of successfully launching high-impact initiatives scored you a plum role heading up innovation. Expectations are high, but some skeptics in the organization feel that innovation is an overhyped buzzword that doesn’t justify being a separate function. So, what can you do in your first 100 days to set things off on the right track?
What does innovation mean for SMEs. If you belief “Killing giants”, SMEs are ready, able, capable and willing to take on the giants. The author of “entrepreneur revolution” beliefs that our time is NOW.
The hubs of advanced manufacturing will be the economic drivers of the future because innovation increasingly depends on production expertise.
Everyone is looking for a breakthrough. The massive shift in generation differences in consumer behavior and rapid technological shift are casuing many companies to fail.... and it will happen fast. Companies that are stuck in their old mental model cannot breakout for many reasons. It is usually a combination of all that causes them to be irrelevant. It includes leadership’s blind sight, organization legacies and lack of foresights and the list goes on and on...
Everyone is looking for a breakthrough. The massive shift in generation differences in consumer behavior and rapid technological shift are casuing many companies to fail.... and it will happen fast. Companies that are stuck in their old mental model cannot breakout for many reasons.
At Novozymes, an industrial bio-tech company, internal crowdsourcing is an important means to engage the employees in the creative process. The crowdsourcing campaigns have proved to be very successful with high engagement levels and many qualified proposals, some of which even led to patent applications. This is what we have experienced of do’s and don’ts when it comes to achieving successful crowdsourcing.
I would guesstimate that about 20% of the bigger companies (more than 500 employees) understand open or external innovation in the sense that this is no longer a novelty within the company, but an approach that is now a key element in their innovation efforts. They are still experimenting with the right approach and the mix of internal and external resources, but they are on track to make this work.
The 3H methodology enables us to look out into the future, across three different horizons that can manage the transition between short, medium and long term in our innovation activities, something often badly lacking in most organizations thinking.
Pity the poor innovator, especially those in large corporations. They are constantly whip-sawed between competing narratives and perspectives. In one moment, executives are complaining that no one stops to look at the big picture, to bring them new ideas that are "game changers". In another, subsequent moment, the same innovators are slammed by people who want them to "get their heads out of the clouds" and create something immediately useful. Good innovators are constantly buffeted by these two competing storylines.
So the question of the day is: can innovation be learned, or "taught"? The underlying assumption is that innovation is inherent, a creative spark that one is either born with or cannot hope to possess. The rationalist in all of us considers this unusual and unfair. Certainly everyone can "learn" to innovate, no?
Growth is on the top of the management agenda as shareholders simply demand return on invested capital and current business is not delivering it. So what is the best route companies can take to achieve it? How can companies create and accelerate growth? To succeed companies must possess the capabilities and take a systematic approach to go beyond their core business.
Organizations that pursue the inquiry-led form of collaborative innovation often have an outcome in mind. They may seek the “low-hanging fruit” of immediately actionable ideas. They may seek ideas that help to re-envision the business.
An essential ingredient to successful innovation projects is good facilitation. Who could argue with that? Innovation combines individual and group activities. Good group collaboration is not a given. Even individual activities need coordination with the group effort. You really need an inspiring, confident, well-trained facilitator to enable innovation.
As Innovation Program leaders look to expand their scope and influence across complex, global organizations, they are turning to the development of Employee Innovation Networks. This article examines what these networks can look like, and provides some high level overview of the value that they can generate.
Gallup has created a really useful profile on the creative thinker in business. Use the tips below as a coaching tool to help you and your team develop winning ideas, and convert them into successful innovations.
Here are 7 areas your competitors can teach you about innovation. You can answer these questions to better understand the pros and cons, whys and wherefores of how competitors in your industry are addressing innovation and what it means for your brand.
Most companies around the world are small and medium sized (50-250 people) and yet the main attention of innovation is geared towards startups and big corporates.
"Innovation isn't vital to the success of my business." - said no one ever! Let's face it, if you aren't growing you're dying. So the need to be innovative in our businesses is absolutely critical.
I'm sure you're like me and the wheels inside your head are always turning... always trying to figure out how to make it better, more compelling, or even just make it work. And if you're like me, you have a hard time shutting it down, catching yourself solving business problems from the sidelines of your daughter's soccer match.
The middle managers obsession with constantly chasing efficiencies alone, there is little ‘slack’ for innovation and new learning. Their measurement is often based on this efficiency and effectiveness emphasis and not on generating innovation.
While most companies focus their innovation efforts on new products, others like Amazon and Netflix are disrupting industries with business model innovation -- a cheaper, easier and more powerful form of innovation.
Innovation, in all of its facets and complexities, is really about making choices. What we do so casually each day of our lives becomes significantly more difficult in the context of innovation. What is innovation if not an intertwined series of choices?
People need time to innovate, but corporations tend to "tax" employees with time-wasting bureaucracy. As reported in The Economist, clutter is taking a toll on both morale and productivity.
What are the similarities between the book The End of Competitive Advantage and the major assumptions behind the Open Innovation paradigm as advocated by Henry Chesbrough (2003, 2006)? In my view, there are several ones and they are worth exploring.
…you've defined the problem with the old one, reframed it as choice between at least two mutually exclusive choices, and generated some initial possibilities through focused, facilitated brainstorming.
I've come to the conclusion that many businesses are at a critical inflection point in regards to the innovation they can conduct. What's interesting is how closely the constraints align to larger economic issues. I'm talking here about the necessary level of staffing in order to get things done. What's I've referred to in the title as "bandwidth".
The whole issue with innovation is that we can’t know in advance if it’s going to work or not. If we know it will work, it’s not innovation, it’s just a financial decision. Many of the struggles that people have with innovation comes from this – we want certainty. But if we’re going to innovate, we must actively seek out uncertainty.
Whether innovation benefits the masses or just the elites has major policy ramifications. If the later, shouldn’t government insure a fair division of the economic pie? And is the patent system critical for economic growth or a tool for the powerful to plunder the helpless?
We all need to recognize the type of innovation leadership personality within our organization, the ones we are working for, as this might help you manage the innovation work a whole lot better and attract in the resources you need.
Many people are confused as to what provides the initial "spark" for innovation, what creates energy and passion to conduct innovation work. The answer is simple: a need.
Unfortunately for Apple, one of the downsides of its visibility is that the company has turned into a target for patent trolls. In fact, Apple—a top target of the patent trolls—has faced 92 lawsuits in three years. Patent trolls are companies whose only business is suing over patents. The goal of these businesses is to “squeeze the patents to their maximum revenue potential in licensing fees.”
As innovators that want to make things happen and are constantly seeking ways to counter resistance to change. It comes with the territory and is the most predictable challenge we will encounter. There are many common sources of resistance to change inside organizations and from potential customers: inertia, indecision, fear of making mistakes, lack of best practices and lack of care for your product/service. How do you overcome them?
Innovation is doing different things. Going into new territories. Using new techniques. It is a paradox for most of us. On the one hand you are well aware that you have to take new roads before you reach the end of the present dead end street. On the other hand it is risky. It takes a lot of time and resources. Research shows that only one out of seven innovation projects is successful. So saying yes to innovation is a risk.
Innovation has happened, it is happening, and it will happen, as long as there are problems to solve or needs to be addressed and a market that is willing to reward the inventor or innovator for their troubles. Almost all of the advancement in human history is due to innovation - in agriculture, in societies, in medicine, in technology and in education. Rather than doubt the power of innovation, review human history and see the impact of innovation across centuries.
The brainstorm is the most popular group creativity exercise in business. It is quick, easy and it works. But many organizations have become frustrated with brainstorms and have stopped using them. They say brainstorms are old-fashioned and no longer effective. But the real reason for the frustrations is that their brainstorms are not facilitated properly. A well-run brainstorm is fun and energetic. It will generate plenty of good ideas. But a poor brainstorm can be frustrating and demotivational. Let’s look at some simple ways to ruin your next brainstorm meeting.
There is no question the Stage-Gate process has had a significant impact on the conception, development and launch of new products. Yet there have been consistent criticisms of it, as the world of innovation has moved on. Today it is faster-paced, far more competitive and global and become less predictable.
For a long time I've wondered if we don't pay far too much attention to the obvious aspects of innovation - brainstorming, ideas, trends, etc - and pay far too little attention to the connective activities and culture that moves ideas through an integrated workflow. It's easy to focus on and celebrate activities and definitive results.
We need to think differently about innovation and why it needs complexity and adaptive thinking as part of its design. Complexity within systems challenge us to think differently, it pushes us to think outside often our normal experiences, to confront and understand and then restructure, often the unordered, into a new ordered. Organizations are in need of understanding the complexities within their systems far more.
Most big ideas have loud critics. Not disruption. Disruptive innovation as the explanation for how change happens has been subject to little serious criticism, partly because it’s headlong, while critical inquiry is unhurried; partly because disrupters ridicule doubters by charging them with fogyism, as if to criticize a theory of change were identical to decrying change; and partly because, in its modern usage, innovation is the idea of progress jammed into a criticism-proof jack-in-the-box.
From my experience, it seems that everyone thinks about innovation, but they think about it in very discrete, disconnected ways. R&D folks think about innovation as creating a new polymer. Marketing folks think about innovation as changing a marketing channel or delivering a new product. Finance folks think about innovation as driving new revenue or perhaps modifying a business model. What very few people think about are the knock-on effects, consequences and series of events that are required to unfold when you innovate.
Companies depend on the ability to innovate in order to remain competitive. Traditionally, we consider innovation to involve fun and creativity. However, innovation can be hard work requiring both a willingness and an ability to generate ideas.
What kind of action can you take, today, to advance your dream? What action can you take today to make real your invention, your new business idea, or art project?
Every company should dedicate a portion of its innovation portfolio to the creation of new growth through disruptive innovation. But companies need to think carefully about who makes the decisions about managing the investment in those businesses. If the people controlling the purse can’t afford to lose a bit in the short term, then you simply can’t ask them to invest in anything but close-to-the-core opportunities that promise immediate (albeit more modest) returns.
List of tips and suggestions designed to provoke different thinking patterns in your brain to help you think unconventionally.
...we have this huge gap between those ‘working’ innovation and those at the top simply not engaging with innovation or still failing to understand it or even failing to connect the dots. That growing gap at the top in what they need to do to make the connections both inside and outside the organization to manage the changing landscape. One that still suggests we have this consistent failure to align the strategic and innovation activities and provide a more balanced orientation in the mapping to different horizon thinking that is needed. It seems perspectives are totally out of whack.
In many philosophical circles, the mantra behind much of the belief system is that you are what you (think, eat, do, believe). In dietary circles, you are what you eat. Is it also the case that you "are what you innovate" or is it often the other way round? I think in many cases we actually "innovate what we already are".
Even in our money-driven society, the power of money has limits: there are certain things money can’t buy. Love and happiness come to mind first, but a popular list of things that can’t be supposedly bought with money is much longer and includes such items as “25-hour day,” “clear conscience” and (my favorite) “an honest politician.”
When you ask Executives what they want beyond short profit and revenue growth they’ll likely say ‘more innovation’. Why? Because they face unprecedented business challenges. Let’s look back. The current modern corporation was invented about 100 years ago – at the start of the 20th century. That’s when the big companies were born like the US railroad companies, US Steel, the big banks, IG Farben. Some exist still today (GE).
A 2012 study by the Harvard Business Review surfaced several interesting findings about the practice of innovation for the enterprise, including the innovation ambition matrix, which details how “firms that excel at total innovation management simultaneously invest at three levels of ambition, carefully managing the balance among them.”
Companies have added innovation to their company values and mission statements in accelerating numbers. Some organizations have implemented idea management systems. And others are willing to spend large sums of money on design firms and innovation boutique consultancies to get help designing some new widget or service to flog to new or existing customers. Based on all of that you would think that most companies are committed to innovation, right?
Like weeds in a green lawn, people who are “different” — whether behaviorally or neurologically — don’t always fit into standard job categories. But if you can arrange working conditions to align with the abilities of such individuals, they can add significant value.
For as much talk and examples of innovation are discussed, most organizations haven’t gotten the message. And frankly they never will because it goes against human nature. Here’s the message for you: Innovation is not additive, it is subtractive.
Even experienced managers still go blank when asked how to assess, control and measure the performance of open innovation (OI) activities. To address this, we will discuss a general framework for an OI performance measurement system and present a metrics-based management toolkit that provides a suite of KPIs for a specific set of OI methods.
Innovation policy is about the challenge of contributing to the wide objectives such as employment, sustainability and economic growth. How to approach such a task? The answer is simple but the effort complex: Aim for a strong innovation eco-system. Referring to the case of the IMP³rove Euromed Project the article suggests four systematic steps on how to establish an effective, innovation inducing eco-system.
As innovators, we should be detectives, asking ourselves, what critical components for innovation success does this client lack? I've listed a few critical components for innovation success below. If you are starting an innovation project, make sure they exist and are fully supported. If you've "failed" at an innovation activity, perhaps this is a good "post mortem" to find out what went wrong.
3M is one of the most innovative companies in the world. Each year, their target is to have more than 30% of their revenue come from products that are less than four years old. To do this, they must constantly come up with new stuff. To find this new stuff, they spend about 6.6% of their annual revenue on Research & Development. The average large US corporation spends less than 2% of revenues on R&D, so 6.6% is a whole lot. But think about this for a second – what is 3m spending the other %93.4 of their money on? The rest of the money goes to executing ideas that they’ve already had.
Open innovation has always been centered on new product development. Firms source external knowledge from technology and market partners to speed up product launches and to get access to complementary technologies. The open innovation funnel has been used time after time to explain open innovation, implicitly assuming that open innovation is always related to new product development.
After years of Right Sizing, Six Sigma, Lean, BPR and other management fads dedicated to improving processes, eliminating waste and improving efficiency, it can be a real struggle to try to introduce innovation. The operating models, what I called "business as usual" resists change, uncertainty, variance and risk.
I think this a question many executives are asking themselves, and undoubtedly are looking for a silver bullet answer. My answer?
First, let’s get a few things out of the way… innovators share some common characteristics.
In a July 2010 TED Talk, Johnson describes important breakthrough ideas as networks that patch together slowly, sometimes lingering in the backs of minds for decades until the right intersection of circumstances reveals them. Johnson suggests connection and collaboration produce the right intersection of circumstance.
In his research, Johnson examined environments, looking for patterns common among places where great innovations were developed. What kind of setting would best serve a slow fading-in of important ideas? In his studies, he found that a certain amount of chaos was common to several birthplaces of great ideas. Specifically, when multiple minds gathered and volleyed ideas back and forth, the stage was set for breakthroughs.
We often think of innovation as problem-solving. One mistake in this approach is to place all of your focus on the solving part, and not enough on the problem.
Finding better problems is actually a key innovation skill. And you find better problems by asking better questions.
In the recent months two significant technological driven disruptive events have happen that could bring about the downfall of two of Singapore’s largest corporations. Singtel, or Singapore Telecoms, is the first and biggest Telco (they own all the infrastructure) and Comfort one of the largest taxi operators in this island nation.
The main challenge for any innovator is idea adoption. So, it’s important to understand both how ideas spread and what motivates people to adopt those ideas. So, how does an innovation spread?
The failure rate is high but the fixes are simple and intuitive. In this two-part article series Paul Wagorn, President of IdeaConnection draws on his extensive experience of open innovation to discuss the problems with OI portals and how they can be remedied.
Connecting to a world of knowledge has never been easier. The ability of the Internet to harness expertise from all parts of the planet in a wide range of fields is allowing companies to augment their talent base with the knowledge, skills, experiences and points of views of others.
Unlike books written by consultants about how wonderful the companies they study are, and how they have reverse engineered their formula for success into repeatable soundbites, Creativity Inc. was written by someone who was in the trenches; from the beginning. Written by Ed Catmull, co-founder and President of Pixar, Creativity Inc. is a first hand tell-all about what enables Pixar to do its thing: successfully turn original ideas into blockbusters, one after another.
Mr. Catmull’s motivation for writing this book stemmed from a simple question: why do successful companies fail?
In response to a recent post of mine, Tobias Stapf on the Social Innovation Europe LinkedIn networking group, pointed me to a really good report “Innovation Is Not the Holy Grail” and I really have appreciate it. I wanted to draw out some useful learning from this report and useful reminders here in this post that there is no easy answers in innovation, social or business related.
The report outlines the difficulties of enabling innovation in social sector organizations. In this review the authors undertook exploring what enables organization capacity for continuous innovation in established social sector organizations, that operate at an efficient scale, delivering products and services.
The present briefing paper aims to inform policy-makers and other stakeholders about the open innovation model, and to draw their attention to certain recent trends related to its including its origins and evolution, contrasting it with the traditional approach to R&D. In addition, it explains this model’s attractiveness for businesses in light of changes in the innovation environment, and reviews prerequisites for successful collaboration. The second part focuses on the importance of strategic knowledge management in the context of open innovation. In particular, it shows how intellectual property rights (IPRs) can facilitate the sharing of technology and of know-how, thus supporting collaborative innovation.
Open Innovation, loosely defined as seeking solutions outside your company, can help a company dramatically increase its technology and product pipeline, but it is not without its challenges. In this article, we explore a major obstacle that can impede the success of an open innovation based project, and how to remedy it.
It was a triumph of crowdsourcing—for a nominal price, GE used the knowledge of someone they would have never otherwise met to innovate its way out a design problem. It was also a proof of concept for the engineering behemoth’s new innovation strategy. Under Immelt, GE has invested a sizable chunk of its annual $6 billion R&D funds into taking advantage of a simple, internet-enabled truth: Now, more than ever, it’s possible to connect with people around the world, so why not take advantage of that to solve some engineering problems?
How is it possible that IdeaConnection is able to put together a team of 5 people who don’t know each other to solve a problem that seems out of reach to a company’s 5000 dedicated researchers?
A look at what goes into IdeaConnection’s amazing success at solving some of the most difficult problems.
I have been recently revisiting Everett Rogers work on diffusion and adoptions and using Rogers rate of diffusion principles you can end up offering a fairly powerful positioning statement
Many companies have been engaging in crowdsourcing as a way of finding solutions to difficult technical problems. Some of these companies engage directly with the crowd, while others have used intermediaries or ‘expert networks’ who run crowdsourcing platforms as a product.
At least on paper, crowdsourcing seems like a great solution – put your problem out there, and wait for a solution from the masses. What many companies have discovered, however is that there are many unforeseen, even fatal difficulties they encounter while engaging in these crowdsourcing efforts. In some case these challenges completely eclipse the benefits, potentially resulting in an unfulfilled promise and a disillusioned corporate team who had both high hopes and high expectations.
I am going to discuss six of the main “gotchas”, and also offer some insight into the thinking that went behind the model that our company uses – it was purposefully built to resolve these problems and gets a lot closer to a platform that actually delivers on the promise.
Open innovation cannot be implemented in companies without the right organizational structure and processes supporting it. What are these organizational structures and processes that facilitate open innovation in companies? They determine the success of open innovation practices and, therefore, this theme clearly deserves more attention from managers. It is surprising that very few academic and professional articles have been written about this topic.
When I heard about “continuous deployment” at Etsy.com, the rapidly-growing billion-dollar online market that deploys more than 30 software improvements each day, my immediate reaction was that this must be a hellishly stressful place to work.
I was therefore surprised to learn that it is exactly the opposite. Continuous deployment was introduced not only to accelerate innovation but also to overcome excessive stress in the workplace and it has done both.
Delta Airways has just opened it’s ‘Innovation Class’ for business. If you haven’t heard of it, Delta’s idea is that as they already fly ‘some of the smartest people in the world’, these leaders could use this time in the air to share their knowledge with an up-and-coming professional in the seat next to them. So Delta has in fact created a ‘mile high’ mentoring program – giving innovators the chance to share a few hours with leaders in the field.
One of the keys to being an innovative organisation is culture. The way that people within our organisation interact has a big influence on are ability to innovate.
I often hear from people that their organisation has a “risk-averse culture.” When I do, I remind them that we create culture – through our own interactions every day. So if we want to change our culture, the first place to start is with what we do ourselves.
There’s a popular notion that innovation arrives like a bolt out of the blue, as a radical departure from previous knowledge—when really, most new ideas are extensions, twists, variations on what’s come before. The skill of generating innovations is largely the skill of putting old things together in a new way, or looking at a familiar idea from a novel perspective, or using what we know already to understand something new.
Our culture doesn’t ever rest. Instead, we live in a constantly calibrating and recalibrating ecosystem, even when surface impressions make it seem otherwise. Every day we live with and adapt to the incredibly complex social, cultural, environmental, political, and economic systems around us, and they adapt to us.
How then, can market researchers and wannabe innovators expect to capture who we are and why we do what we do with a single survey, a simple snapshot or any other sort of static lens.