Your strategy is your overall approach to achieving your purpose. You can only have one: strategy is a singular thing.
Is your organization serious about the role that innovation plays in achieving its purpose? If so, to what extent is innovation part of your overall approach (your strategy)? Continue reading “How strategic is your innovation?”
Making sense of the field of innovation is not simple. This is partly because of the range of aspects of innovation that are frequently discussed.
In this interview with Brightidea, the leading provider of innovation management systems, Keith McConnell, of Sara Lee, makes a distinction between innovation and “continuous improvement” in the first 25 seconds, when he says:
“My role is in continuous improvement. And my job is to actually improve the innovation process. So it is both continuous improvement as well as innovation.”
Keith McConnell [Sara Lee] from Brightidea on Vimeo.
Today (13 March 2014), during #innochat, this interesting aspect of innovation is proposed as the starting point for a discussion of the relationship between innovation and kaizen, which is often described as the pursuit of “continuous improvement“. The discussion will be led by our guest Elli St.George Godfrey (@3keyscoach). Continue reading “The discontinuous nature of innovation”
Some things still work
(and some things don’t work any longer)
Some things work now
(and some things don’t work yet)
It was with great sadness that I learned of the recent death of Gordon Edge. These are some of my memories of a great technology innovator and business leader.
For a period of almost three years, during the 1980s, I was privileged to work at PA Technology, near Cambridge. This was a great place to be and formed part of what became known as the “Cambridge Phenomenon”.
Populated by a bunch of bright mavericks, it was led by its founder and chief maverick, Gordon Edge. Dressed immaculately, he spoke quietly, using few words, and what words!
Continue reading “Gordon Edge, remembering a great innovator and leader”
Selling innovative products
If you are selling something, then you want people to buy it, but how? The challenge is greater if your product is more innovative. But maybe other innovations can come to the rescue.
Resistance from existing distributors
For Tesla, the electric car manufacturer which is shaking up the motor industry, Texas is different. Tesla believe that existing car dealers have little incentive to sell electric cars, so they decided to sell them direct through their own sites, rather like a kind of Apple Store chain for cars.
But in Texas the car dealers don’t like that and they have laws to stop it.
Continue reading “Tesla in Texas: two innovations interacting?”
Training wheels don’t work
If you have a young child who will learn to ride a bike sometime soon, you probably have recollections of the bike that you learnt on, and the awkwardness of bikes with stabilisers (also known as: training wheels). Recently, I came across this article about training wheels and balance bikes and it reminded me of the very different experience with my youngest son.
Balance bikes are much better
Balance bikes are great, as this video (not of my child) shows!
In my experience, they are obviously a better way to learn to ride a bike and it’s very surprising that anyone buys bikes with stabilisers (training wheels) any more. On a more professional note, this is also one of the best examples that I have encountered of innovation applied to learning by choosing different disclosure sequences, but that is a much bigger story.
Understanding “innovation” relationships
With so much current interest in innovation, and with there being so many differences of view on what innovation is, one way to organise one’s thinking on the topic is to describe its relationship to other topics.
… with “marketing”!
The relationship between innovation and marketing is a particularly important, and this led to an article on several aspects of that pairing.
Read the full article …
While strategy and tactics are important topics, which are frequently confused, the role of innovation provides a key to distinguishing them.
This led to an article, focussed on the innovation aspects of strategy, which is intended to separate the two more clearly by describing their relationship, and putting tactics in their place!
Read the full article …
Innovations might come from ideas, but ideas might not lead to innovations.
Innovations enable us to make small steps, big jumps and giant leaps in the direction that we choose to go. But searching for, and realising, those innovations involves more than searching for, and developing, ideas.
An idea might be a key that fits a lock, that opens a door, on a route, through a barrier to our chosen direction. But in our search for ideas that might be keys, it is useful to know the direction, the barriers, the routes, the doors and the locks.
An idea is not the beginning of the development of an innovation. It is not even the end of the beginning. It might, however, be the beginning of the end.
Innovation happens automatically, under the right conditions, like fire.
For fire, those conditions are generally: fuel, air supply and heat. Removing any one, prevents it.
- fuel is something valuable to be done,
- air supply is the communication of information and ideas,
- heat is energy, and sparks of enthusiasm and inspiration.
Innovation is prevented by:
- misunderstanding value,
- stifling communication,
- pouring water on sparks.
When none of those are happening, innovation happens … automatically!