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We are proud to announce our twentieth Innovation Excellence Weekly for Slideshare. Inside you'll find ten of the best innovation-related articles from the past week on Innovation Excellence - the world's most popular innovation web site and home to 5,000+ innovation-related articles.
Issue 20 – February 15, 2013 1. The Promise and Peril of 3D Printing.......................................................... Melba Kurman 2. Open Innovation and Distributed Business Model with API ……..….…...…. Nicolas Bry 3. Characteristics of Highly Creative People ………………..…..……… Jeffrey Baumgartner 4. 6 Techniques to Sharpen & Expand Innovation Instincts ......... Bradley (Woody) Bendle 5. True Innovators – 10 Insights That Define Them .…………………...… Stefan Lindegaard 6. Creative Intelligence ……………………………………………..…………………. Greg Satell 7. When is it Not the Right Time to Innovate? …………………………………….... Simon Hill 8. The Art of Five Whys …………………………………………….….…..….….. Matthew E May 9. Key Issues in Innovation Management ………………….….... Ralph Ohr and Tim Kastelle 10. Attitude Reflects Leadership ….……………………………………….…….…..… Mike Myatt Your hosts, Braden Kelley, Julie Anixter and Rowan Gibson, are innovation writers, speakers and strategic advisors to many of the world’s leading companies. “Our mission is to help you achieve innovation excellence inside your own organization by making innovation resources, answers, and best practices accessible for the greater good.”Cover Image credit: Creative Light Bulb Vector
The Promise and Peril of 3D PrintingPosted on February 13, 2013 by Melba KurmanThere are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our firstmanufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now astate-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential torevolutionize the way we make almost everything.- President Obama, State of the Union Address, Feb. 12, 20133D printing – the promise and peril of a machine that can make (almost) anythingI am enjoying a moment of convergence between my two parallel worlds — university technology commercialization and 3D printing. By now,you’ve probably heard about 3D printing. 3D printing technology isn’t new — it’s actually been around for a few decades. What’s new is the factthat in the past few years, a “perfect storm” of converging technologies are rapidly opening up a lot of potential new applications.Recently several leading Chinese universities and the government invested $80 million to form a Industry Alliance 3D printing innovationcenter in Beijing. And, did you know that one of the most widely used 3D printing techniques was invented and brought to market by aUniversity of Texas student and professor in the 1980s? Demonstrating the value of federally funded university research, the project wasfederally funded by DARPA.It seems that everything really is bigger in Texas, including ideas. According to the U Texas’s engineering newsletter,“Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) started with a concept for a manufacturing process by a UT mechanical engineering undergraduate namedCarl Deckard .”
The story continues:“Several important patents for the technology were issued to the university in the later years, beginning in 1988. Soon Deckard and Beamanwere involved in a start up company called DTM to design and build the machines, and make parts for clients. By 1989, they had sold the firstmachines, and in 1990 BFGoodrich bought a controlling interest in the company.”Besides SLS (the printing technique invented at the University of Texas) there are several different 3D printing methods out there. 3D printersrange in price from six-figure mega-scale industrial printers capable of making titanium or ceramic parts, to today’s emerging consumer-scaleprinters that print in plastic and cost one or two thousand dollars.Machines classified as 3D printers have a few core characteristics in common:1) a 3D printer makes three-dimensional objects by following instructions from a computer, not a human operator or hard-coded machineinstructions. A 3D printer doesn’t work if it doesn’t have a design file to tell it what to do.2) Printers “print” raw material into layers (it depends on the raw material used). One type of 3D printer extrudes thin layers or tiny droplets ofsoft raw material through a nozzle or syringe. A second major category of printer technologies (developed by Chuck Hull who later founded 3DSystems) solidifies powder using a laser.3) After each new layer is precisely deposited (or firmed up — depending on the type of printer) in a print bed on top of the previous layer, thegradual build-up of layers eventually forms into a solid three-dimensional object.To learn more about the basics of 3D printing, 3ders is a good source. So is Fabbaloo and Open3DP (out of the University of Washington). Ifyou’d really like to take a deep dive (shameless plug here), you can read a book I co-authored called Fabricated: the new world of 3Dprinting.With that basic explanation out of the way, I want to jump ahead to the big question: how will 3D printing and related technologies — betterdesign software, cheap computing power, biotech and tiny electronic components — change our lives?3D printing todayAs computing power increases and hardware costs plummet, 3D printers have emerged an output device for the digital world. 3D printingenables us to enjoy a small taste of the freedom and convenience of the digital world, but in the design and fabrication of physical objects. Forexample, if you use an optical scanner (or a modified Microsoft Kinect) you can scan the shape of your body and tweak the scan data into adesign file. Next, you feed the design file to a 3D printer to print out custom molds to make a … Gummi Me. Or a Gummi You.More seriously, industrial designers and artists use optical scanning technologies and 3D printers to re-create exact copies of machine parts orsculpture. Someday as scanners and printer technology improve, we’ll become quite blase about making copies and “re-mixes” of physicalthings. Regular people will be able to design and fabricate physical objects as easily as they edit, update and re-arrange their Facebook page.
A disruptive aspect of the 3D printing process is its precision. The fact that a 3D printer makes three-dimensional objects layer by painstakinglayer means you can put raw material precisely into the right place. If you can place droplets of plastic — or tiny particles of metal — in exactlythe place you want it, you gain the ability to fabricate weird and wonderful new shapes. Artists and designers are just beginning to scratch thesurface of this new design space.3D printers form complex shapes that were once physically impossible to make. Traditional manufacturing machines mold plastic or metal orcarve away (or grind down) chunks of raw material. These crude techniques used in mass production aren’t capable of forming objects withhollow insides or interlocked parts. For example, have you ever seen one of those wooden chains in a craft shop in which the chain links arepre-interlaced since they’re carved from a single block of wood? A 3D printer could print such a chain.True, maybe there’s not a gigantic market for pre-intertwined 3D printed chain links. However, if you think about the bigger picture, 3D printingis the only manufacturing technique that is capable of creating interlocking parts in a single “print job,” no downstream assembly needed. Amachine that can make assembly-free, interlocked parts opens up new design possibilities and could someday shorten assembly lines. Forexample, you can 3D print a door hinge in a single, ready-made piece. If you made a door hinge the old fashioned way from separately moldedmetal parts, you’d have to later put them together.Speaking of precision manufacturing, how about 3D printing replacement body parts and new skin? Today, medical researchers havesuccessfully 3D printed living stem cells inside a protective hydrogel, where the cells are able to thrive and continue to grow on their own. Asthis technique improves, we may be able to print usable living tissue inside a petri dish. Or artificial meat.To repair torn cartilage or insert a new artificial heart valve, human surgeons wield a scalpel. Cutting and stitching injured tissue seems horriblycrude compared to more elegant renewal mechanisms that could be made possible by a computer-guided, tiny 3D printing device that coulddeposit precisely living tissue inside the patient’s body. There may be a major psychological barrier to the notion of a surgical computer-guidedrobot that’s paired with a tiny, in-body 3D printer. I am increasingly convinced, however, that computer-guided medical techniques could be anattractive alternative to human experts. After all, during several months of driving around on public roads and highways, Google’s self-drivingcars had significantly fewer car accidents, on average, than human drivers.A 3D printer’s accuracy is increased by its high degree of fluency as it “listens” and “speaks” with software. The precise digital information of adesign file can be precisely enacted as a 3D printed physical object. The ability to transform digital information in a close physicalapproximation has tremendous potential for medical applications.For example, if a surgeon needed to create a custom hip implant for a car accident victim, she could take a high resolution X-ray of the patient’s“good” hip. This X-ray image, in essence, is just digital information. The surgeon could adjust the X-ray of the good hip into a design file, then“flip” the initial design file to create a mirror model of the intact hip. The patient’s shattered hip could be replaced by a 3D printed implant madefrom titanium or ceramic.Finally, on a practical and logistical level, a 3D printer makes what a computer tells it to make, not what a human operator (or hard codedmachine settings) tell it to do. Design-file instructions mean that a single 3D printer can make lots of differently shaped things without a whole
lot of custom configuration (called “tooling.”) In a sense, unlike old-school factory machines, 3D printers require less “commitment,” making itcheaper to create custom objects.Low-cost production of unique “one-offs” will introduce new business models.For example, you could run a new sort of business that’s free fromthe significant investment needed to set up a large-scale manufacturing operation. Imagine you sold custom machine parts. You could digitallystore 500 different design files for a suite of machine parts, each part distinguished by a subtle difference in its shape. Upon customer demand,you could 3D print just a few differently shaped parts as cheaply and easily as you could print just a few identical parts.True, 3D printing 1,000,000 identical objects is magnitudes slower than mass producing the same 1,000,000 identical objects in a traditionalfactory — no doubt about that. However, slow, small-batch production of custom 3D printed jewelry, tissue, foodstuffs or other high-value goodsbegins to make economic sense if profitability does not rely on high sales volumes and thin profit margins. In other words, 3D printed productionis not idea for products whose business value is based on economies of scale.Today we’re in the primitive stages of this rapidly advancing manufacturing technology. What lies ahead?image credit: motherboard.vice.com.com Melba Kurman writes and speaks about innovative tech transfer from university research labs to the commercial marketplace. Melba is the president of Triple Helix Innovation, a consulting firm dedicated to improving innovation partnerships between companies and universities.
Open Innovation and Distributed Business Model with APIPosted on February 10, 2013 by Nicolas Bry Open Innovation can be sustainably supported by Application Programming Interface (API) and the cooperation assets it brings. API not only accelerate innovation endeavour, they generate new revenue streams, strengthen your marketing campaigns, and extend your reach in distributed business models. It’s time to realize API are a must-have for your business. API ‘best kept secrets’ @CyrilVart (@Fabernovel) delivered a comprehensive presentation entitled ’6 reasons why APIs are reshaping your business’ at API days last December. Let’s go through itand mix it with our own experience, assessing what this new exciting territory holds in store.An application programming interface (API) is a protocol used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other. Inother words, API is the binding agent across functional components assembled similarly to Lego blocks.Are you considering API as ‘Far Far West’ to your world?Think again, some APIs are quite famous: we just don’t call them API! Facebook Like button, which lead Facebook to shape social recommendation pattern, is based on an API: you can activate it by embedding a simple line of code to your website; Twitter API enables among others features Tweets display in various apps: it is called 13 billion time /day and around 1,000 applications were developed based on Twitter API; Google APIs (including Google Maps API powering map feature in many web sites, or Google Adsense API allowing publishers to automatically serve text, image, video, and rich media on Google’s network websites) are called 5 billions time / day.
API for Collaborative InnovationAPI foster innovation. We put it at the center of Modular Design and Rapid Innovation model. It unfolds various benefits: Acceptance: API modules facilitate innovation acceptance by letting others take control, develop their ownership and build their value on top of your platform; Collective Creativity: API is modest, it unleashes other’s creativity, it’s a ‘toolbox for design’, an application of “Designing with, rather than designing for” mantra. Flexibility: as end-user applications and API components are decoupled, precious autonomy is provided to the API innovation team; Speed: API accelerates innovation penetration by enabling parallel implementations. Component can act as a hub and receive simultaneous connections from different applications. Crossfunctional Enhancement: Needs from different applications are mutualized and enrich the component functions in a virtuous circle of innovation. Progress of any member is benefitting to all.
Fabernovel highlights similar API assets for product development: “an API is a software brick that allows someone to share data, content andfunctionalities with others, for them to build new services based on this data, content and functionalities”. The point is backed up with Fitbit casestudy, a player in the Intelligent Things market: “Fitbit is a fitness tracker that records health and fitness data; it created an API to allow thirdparty developers to craft fitness apps using Fitbit health data such as daily steps, calories burned, food eaten and weight. 20 apps were built onthe Fitbit API, creating innovative uses of fitness and health data.Rather than thinking of ‘R&D externalization’ through API exposure, I would rather stress API as a way to harness collective intelligence, andactivate the skills of the many: lots of eyes can find lots of mistakes, fix them, and improve the ecosystem.Open Innovation is about “using other people’s wheels to get you moving” claims Professor Chesbrough. While Open Innovation breaksboundaries to look for innovation in the outside world, there is no better currency than API.API for distributed Business ModelIn addition to fostering innovation, Fabernovel raises 5 key returns on using API for business:
1. New revenue streams;2. New distribution channels;3. Extending partnership;4. Fine control tuning (API is not about opening everything, but also controlling it);5. Organizational flexibility (internal API reinventing IT’s role, and accelerating collaborative work). These sharp boosters make API scale up your business: API is much more than the sum of the parts! I’ve picked up some emblematic companies which managed to harness all of API potential: Expedia opened up an API for their affiliates to enable them to pick up bookings, photos, search results, user reviewes: today, Expedia Affiliate Network includes 10,000 partners and makes $2 billion revenue per year, 90% of which comes from its API; Based on API providing a range of CRM services in the cloud, Salesforce built a powerful business model alleviated from physical point of sales and on-site installation processes; Netflix opened an API in 2008 to allow developers to use its resources (Movie catalogue, Queue management, Rental history) and make creative business: today, 800+ devices can stream Netflix content, 20,000 developers use Netflix API; Facebook Connect allows users to log-in on any websites using their Facebook information. Third party developers can add a “Connect with Facebook” button by using Facebook Connect APIs. Facebook Connect API has standardized credentials, creating a universal ID for the digital world, and let Facebook build partnership on a worldwide scale at minimum cost;
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer a wide variety of services (storage, database, computing power, servers, application services, deployment & management) accessible through a set of API. Each of these services is charged following use pricing which means Amazon tracks very precisely each customer’s usage. AWS generated m$750 in 2011; Comcast, America’s largest TV cable provider created a dozen of internal API for teams to easily share data and solutions. Today, teams can build new products and user experience faster than ever, generating thus new revenue sources for Comcast. It takes now 30 minutes to share resources through internal API compared to months in the past; AT&T is now offering 79 APIs to third parties (Future Centre Blog), and Orange has redesigned its dedicated web site, Orange Partner, to expose its API.“Operate API without noticing, just like the air”API family is extending: Marc Andreessen distinguishes Acces API, Plug-In API, and Online API, where code developed externally by third-party is run inside the platform, and which he considered as the most advanced level.Developing API help you focus on your core business, while harnessing collaborative innovation, and creating new business streams, byconnecting functional legos: ‘when every business is an API, new businesses can be formed almost instantly by linking’ observes Mark Pesce.API is a strategic tool to reshape your business.Once you’ve tried it, you can’t give it up. In my case, since I start a new innovation project, I spontaneously think of two outputs: an end-userservice and its corresponding API. Each of them requires its design involvement, to capture respective powerful meaning for its different usertargets.Processing API for your business stands for a new way of tailoring your organization and scale: as future system composed of many smallindependant units leverages any kind of connected object to exchange resources, growth can be at lightening speed.
We are witnessing a ‘business process API-ification‘ notes Robin Vasan, where businesses have to reinvent themselves as API (@mpesce).Now has come the time for innovators to step in, embracing API capabilities, and for marketers to think in terms of API.Credits: Facebook Like button, lego-usb-hub, mobilemegatrends vision mobile, Fitbit, raffleticket.com, FaberNovel, 6 Reasons Why APIs AreReshaping Your Business, November 2012 Nicolas is a senior VP at Orange Innovation Group. Serial innovator, he set-up creative BU with an international challenge, and a focus on new TV experiences. Forward thinker, he completed a thesis on “Rapid Innovation”, implemented successfully at Orange, and further developed at nbry.wordpress.com. He tweets @nicobry
Characteristics of Highly Creative PeoplePosted on February 13, 2013 by Jeffrey BaumgartnerThere are a surprising number of blog posts about the characteristicsof creative people. However, most of these seem to focus either on anidealised vision of an artist or the blog-writers idealised self image!Here is my take on the characteristics of highly creative people.However, what I have done is look at how creative people think —based on my understanding of the latest research — and applied itbehaviour.It is also worth bearing in mind that creativity is not all about positives.There are good and bad creative people. Moreover, there seem to besome characteristics of creative people, such as dishonesty, that are not very nice. More controversially, some research has shown acorrelation between creativity and mental illness. Though, as I noted in a recent issue of Report 103, there is apparently some doubt about howtrue that is.The characteristics of highly creative people are, I believe, the result of two specific behaviours of such people. Let’s look at those behavioursand how they affect broader behaviour.Behaviour One: Make More Use of Their Mental Raw MaterialIt seems that when highly creative people are trying to solve a problem or achieve a goal, particularly when the goal is related to their area ofcreative strength, they use much more of their brains than do ordinary people or, indeed, even themselves when not focused on a creative task.If the average person is asked to draw a picture of a cat, she will most likely think about the physical appearance of a cat and replicate it asbest she can with pen and paper. The creative artist, on the other hand, will think in much more depth. She’ll think not only about the cat, butthe placement of the cat; what the cat is doing; the lighting; the kind of lines to use and much more. She may decide to humanise the cat andgive it emotions. Perhaps she’ll decide to draw a sexy cat with a human body wearing an evening gown. Maybe she’ll simply draw a blurrepresenting a cat in motion.By using much more of her brain to achieve her goal, the highly creative person in effect provides herself with more raw material from which toconstruct ideas than the average person. The average person thinks only about drawings of cats and the basic characteristics of cats. Thislimits the level of creativity she can achieve. The highly creative person thinks about much more — all the while retaining some connection tocats. It is not surprising that, with so much raw material, she is able to be more creative in the realisation of her ideas.They Think Before They ActIt takes time to run through all that raw material in the brain. This is why creative people tend to think before they act. The play with the issue intheir minds for a time, looking at a range of possibilities before choosing a direction. I see this when I work with creative people. When you give
an average person a creative challenge, she tends immediately to try and come up with ideas. But because her mind is too focused on theissues of the challenge, her ideas are limited in scope as well. They are conventional, obvious ideas. The highly creative person, on the otherhand, tends to turn the problem around in her head. She asks questions, thinks about it in various scenarios and brings seemingly unrelatedinformation into her problem solving.For example, if you ask an averagely creative person to come up with ideas for things you could do with a big box (for example, the kind of boxa new washing machine might be packaged in), she will immediately think of boxes and their usual uses: storage, children’s toys, perhapsprotection against the elements.A highly creative person, would go further. She might think about using a box as a children’s toy (as would most people), but she would alsothink about the kind of games children might play in a box. She might imagine climbing into the box and then wonder what it would be like. Shemight think about tearing apart the box and what to do with the pieces – perhaps using them for kindling for a fire or raw material for asculpture. She might invert the box in her mind and climb on top of it. What would happen if she did that, she might wonder. All of thesethoughts enable her to come up with many more ideas than the averagely creative person. But these thoughts all come from her mind. She issimply using more of her mind and its memories, thoughts and notions in order to construct ideas.Incidentally, the highly creative person does not focus on her left brain or right brain for a simple reason: it’s a myth 1. Creative people use a lotof their brains, not one hemisphere or the other!Curiosity Is Creative PlayHighly creative people are often cited as being very curious. This fits with the way their brains work. Rather than simply collect information, theirbrains play with it. One person might see a horse standing in a field and think it is a magnificent looking animal. Another, more curiouslycreative person, might wonder what the horse thinks about all day in the field. She might wonder how the horse can cope for long hours ofinactivity without a book to read. Or she might notice that the horse tends to hang out by the fence that borders another field where anotherhorse is resident. The creative person might wonder how two animals that do not have spoken or written language might bond and what kindsof friendships horses might have.
Spontaneous IdeasIt is by often asking these questions, wondering and being curious that creative people come up with spontaneous ideas. For instance, it is byasking what use could be made of not very sticky glue that some people discovered Post-Its. Pablo Picasso wondered how he could depictthree dimensional reality, as viewed from different perspectives, on a two dimensional canvas and came up with cubism.Behaviour Two: Less Intellectual RegulationThe dorsolateral prefrontal region of the brain is responsible for, among other things,intellectual regulation2. It includes the brain’s censorship bureau; the bit of the brainthat prevents us from saying or doing inappropriate things. It allows us to controlimpulses and to choose appropriate courses of behaviour according to circumstances.It seems that in highly creative people, this part of the brain becomes much less activethan normal during the period of creation. This makes sense. If you can reduce thelevel of thought regulation when generating creative work (whether ideas, music,artwork), then fewer ideas will be filtered out as inappropriate and more will bedeveloped and shared.In averagely creative people, on the other hand, the dorsolateral prefrontal regionremains more active all the time. It filters out crazy thoughts, it prevents the personfrom saying, doing or even thinking too much about outrageous ideas. It ensures that averagely creative people think and behaveconventionally. And for many people, this is preferred. Most people desire to fit into society and succeed according to existing rules. It is onlycreative misfits who want to succeed by doing things their own way, by ignoring convention, by having the audacity to believe they know betterthan convention.For many people, this is a good thing. Sharing stupid ideas is embarrassing. People might laugh at the individual who shares seemingly stupidideas. People might question her competence. Moreover, the averagely creative individual may wonder why she should bother with creativeideas when more conventional solutions work well enough. No one is going to be laughed at or reprimanded for coming up with a conventionalidea that is in keeping with the norms of the local culture (whether it is society, a school or a workplace). However, sharing a radical idea thatmight be stupid could well result in ridicule. Acting on an idea which could fail miserably could get you in trouble.In short, it is safer to be conventional and incremental in your creativity than it is to be unconventional and radical in your creativity — at leastfor most people. Highly creative people are different. Their brains are programmed to worry less about fitting in with conventions and stayingwithin norms. It is not that highly creative people are not afraid of ridicule or criticism (indeed, many artists are highly sensitive). Rather, it neveroccurs to them that others might ridicule their ideas.
Creative People Are Not as Rebellious as You ThinkThis leads to the myth that creative people are rebellious. I do not believe this is entirely true. But where most people, thanks to their activedorsolateral prefrontal cortexes, regulate their thinking and behaviour to fit with conventional behaviour, creative people are not sohandicapped. Instead, they follow their own rules or systems for evaluating ideas and deciding whether to move forward with those ideas.These rule systems are often logical, at least to the creative thinker. But, because they are not about conforming to social norms, it makes thecreative thinker seem rebellious. An artist, for example, will not make a name for herself by studiously copying current trends. Rather, she willbecome famous by being unique. So, if she makes decisions based on what is commonplace, ordinary and conforming in the art world, she willnever make a name for herself. However, if she purposely veers from what is popular in order to carve out her own, unique style — she maybecome famous. She may make a name for herself.Creative People Are LogicalAnother common fallacy about creative people is that they are not logical; that they are driven purely by feeling and emotion. I do not believethis is true. Rather, as noted, creative people are not handicapped by a need to conform to social norms. They are not compelled to be a part ofpopular culture. Rather, they are driven by a logic that suits their needs and is logical to them. That logic may be based in part on emotions andfeelings — especially in some artists. But it is a logic nevertheless. All people need to make decisions and decisions are based on some kind oflogic. The creative artist is no exception. If anything, by not feeling compelled to fit the demands of popular culture, the creative artist needs tobe even more logical than the average person who assumes that if everyone wears and buys a particular style jacket, then it is safe to buy andwear such a jacket.Creative People Tend to Be Less HonestAnother apparent consequence of having a relaxed dorsolateral prefrontal region, combined with a brain that is adept at building ideas, appearsto be a reduced need to be honest. Research by Francesca Gino and Dan Ariely 3confirms that, in general, highly creative people are lesshonest than averagely creative people. The reason for this seems to be that creative people can use their creativity to justify their actions inways that less creative people cannot do. A lot of people, especially highly creative people as well as those who believe themselves to be very
creative, will balk at this and claim that they are very honest. And it is true that they believe that. That is because their creativity is successful inconvincing them that their behaviour is justified.Creative People Are Introverts, Extroverts, Collaborators, Independent, Big, Small, Fat, Skinny…I have seen some bloggers claim that creative people are introverts; others that creative people are extroverts. I have heard that creative workbetter in groups and that they work better individually. However, I have never seen these assumptions supported in any way. The truth is,creativity seems to have little to do with how well one functions socially, one’s weight (though I would assume that being in good health wouldhelp the brain function better) or other personal characteristics. The truth is, creative people come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colours andpersonalities. What truly distinguishes them from others is that they use more of their brains to generate ideas — which provides them withmore raw material for building unique ideas — and less of their brains to regulate the development and sharing of those unusual ideas.What Do You Think?What do you think? Is this a fair portrayal of the characteristics of creative people? If not, why not? Have I missed anything? I’d love for you toshare your thoughts!image credit: colorful eye image and brain anatomy image from bigstockReferences 1. Christian Jarrett (June 2012) “Why the Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth Will Probably Never Die”; Psychology Today; 2. SimonRoss (2008) “Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex”; Psychlopedia; 3. Francesca Gino, Dan Ariely (2011) “The Dark Side of Creativity: OriginalThinkers Can be More Dishonest”;Harvard Business School Working Paper Jeffrey Baumgartner is the author of the book, The Way of the Innovation Master; the author/editor of Report 103, a popular newsletter on creativity and innovation in business. He is currently developing and running workshops around the world on Anticonventional Thinking, a radical new approach to achieving goals through creativity — and an alternative to brainstorming.
Six Techniques to Sharpen and Expand Your InnovationInstinctsPosted on February 8, 2013 by Bradley (Woody) BendleOne of the most valuable things anyone can bring to the innovation process isgreat ideas for uniquely solving consumer needs. And, in order to bring novel(innovative) ideas to your organization, I have found that it is important tocontinually sharpen and expand your instincts and intuition.Sharpen your InstinctsMalcom Gladwell in two of his books, Blink and Outliers, illustrates the valueof sharpening one’s instincts and creating more intuitiveness. In Blink, Gladwell provides several deliciously compelling examples of the human“Adaptive Unconscious” at work. This Adaptive Unconsciousness is discussed as one’s ability to intuitively connect a myriad of seeminglydisparate dots in a split second in order to form an accurate expert opinion. And, fortunately this Adaptive Unconsciousness is something thatone can develop over time.In Outliers, Gladwell makes the case for developing “expert” knowledge and abilities through what he calls “The 10,000 Hour Rule.” Gladwell’sthesis is that after 10,000 hours immersed in a particular field or activity, one begins to have a seemingly innate level of knowledge orcapability. Put another way, with 10,000 hours of effort you can take your Adaptive Unconsciousness (instincts and intuition) to a new, almostuncanny level. But at this point, one’s expertise is potentially narrow, and one way to bring even more value to your innovation process is toexpand your instinctive base.Expand your InstinctsIDEO’s Tom Kelley in The Ten Faces of Innovation espouses the value of a “T-Shaped” individual. The “T-Shaped” person is one who has anamazing breadth of knowledge across many fields, but also an incredible depth of expertise in at least one subject. And the value theycontribute to the innovation process is their ability to bring new, novel and highly relevant ideas from the outside. I love how Kelley notes that“you are likely to be surprised by what you find out next” about these types of individuals – these types of people sound pretty interesting don’tthey? And, I have to believe that many of the people who end up on Tom Peters’ Cool Friends List are “T-Shaped.”“T-Shaped” people are the ones society labels insightful and wise. Not only do they have a highly sophisticated capacity to filter, process, andassemble a wide array of information in extraordinarily unique and relevant ways, they also seem to have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.These people would be characterized as being naturally curious; and the value “T-Shaped” individuals bring to the innovation process is that
they frankly have the ability to see things others don’t see in all the things that everyone can see. They have and incredible, broadly-fedimagination and even Albert Einstein felt that imagination was often more important than knowledge.Admittedly (and perhaps even thankfully), not everyone has a desire to be a “T-Shaped” innovator, but this is absolutely a trait that can bedeveloped with effort and over time.LAMSTAIHAndy Stefanovich in Look @ More discusses a number of things one can do to continually sharpen their instincts – both broadly and deeply.LAMSTAIH (Look At More Stuff Think About It Harder) is Stefanovich’s mantra for becoming a well-rounded, T-Shaped innovator. To me,“Think About It Harder” is similar to Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule. In order to develop subject matter (or skill-level) expertise, you have to put inthe time. You’ve got to work at it- harder. And, you’ve got to think about it – harder.To broaden your perspective or expand your innovator’s peripheral field of vision you need to reawaken and continually feed your curiosity.Simply put, you need to Look At More Stuff. All living things are born with curiosity, but all too often this is squelched in many humans beginningaround the 3rd or 4th grade.Six Techniques to Sharpen and Expand Your Innovation InstinctsSo if the notion of being T-Shaped appeals to you, here are some ideas to help you reactivate some of your instinctual curiosity:• Occasionally take yourself out of your daily, weekly and monthly routines. You’ll be amazed by what doing something different or doingsomething differently can do for your mind.• Purposefully seek out the new and the different – and pay attention. There is a whole lot of life going on out there and to borrow a quotefrom Ferris Bueller – “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”• Go Wander and Wonder. Go see, do, and experience something completely out of your wheel-house. Get out of your comfort zone and whetyour appetite for confusion. Seek out things that are amazing to you.• Challenge your senses. Take a moment every now and then to mentally catalogue what your senses are experiencing and then, maybeeven push them a little further.• Make note of things that inspire. Each of us are moved in different ways. Pay attention when you are inspired. Ask yourself why you wereinspired. Make note of what this feeling is inspiring in you.• Play! Have you ever spent any time watching two young animals playing around or rough-housing? They are developing their instincts andthis is one technique that we human simply don’t do often enough.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ideas to help you begin to expand and sharpenyour innovation instincts. In my mind, I’ve hardly even scratched the surface; but my hopeis that you’ve been inspired just a little and that you will continue to add to this list on yourown.If you already have some ideas or techniques of your own, I’d love to hear about them!Stay curious my friends…Now, let’s get innovating!image credit: AdAge.com,;bigstockphoto.com Bradley (Woody) Bendle is Director, Insights & Innovation at Collective Brands, Inc. and formerly a VP of Marketing, Customer Analytics & Strategic Systems at Blockbuster, and a consulting economist. His focus areas are: Brand & Market Strategy, Product & Service Innovation, Consumer Behavior, Quantitative & Qualitative Research Methods, and Applied Econometrics. (twitter – @wbendle)
True Innovators – 10 Insights That Define ThemPosted on February 9, 2013 by Stefan LindegaardThere are many ways to identify true innovators. Let me start out with five sentencesthat really annoy true innovators.This will not work. We have already tried something similar. True innovators knowthat many things have already been tried before, but they see the flaws of previousfailures and/or add new elements that raise the likelihood of success.I like your idea, but I don’t think there is a market for this. Too many people arecaught up with traditional views of markets. True innovators often create new markets.I am sorry, but I don’t think you have the proper experience to make this happen.True innovators know how to make things happen – this is the key ingredient forsuccess – and they can assemble necessary skills, mindset and experience in a team.This is not the focus of our organization. Of course, you need to stay within a given strategy, but in today’s fast pace of business, companiesneed to re-invent themselves faster and more often than before.This opportunity is too small for us. True innovators know that everything starts small, but they also know that things can grow fast if theproper framework and conditions are in place.The good thing about true innovators is that they not only get annoyed and offended. They are capable of channeling such feelings into actionsneeded for innovation to happen. You just can’t keep such people down : – )Next, you get five short sentences that in my view resemble the mindset you need in true innovators.Collaboration is not an option; it’s a requirement. As more and more innovation happens in communities, the future winners of innovationwill be those who get this to work the best.
Experimentation is everything. The mantra of Silicon Valley is fail often, fail fast and fail cheap – and learn from it. No wonder they are sosuccessful in turning startups into big companies.Timing is the essence. True innovators will over time develop a knack on getting the timing right with regards to the launch of new productsand/or services. They also know how to extract learning out of projects that failed because of the bad timing – being too early or too late isequally damaging.Perseverance and passion matter more than flashes of brilliance. Innovation and entrepreneurship is hard work. Period.People are everything. True innovators know that good people matter more than good ideas.There are many more ways to describe true innovators. What can you add?image credit: black suit image from bigstock Stefan Lindegaard is an author, speaker and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, social media and intrapreneurship.
Creative IntelligencePosted on February 9, 2013 by Greg Satell “True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.” – Albert Camus Henry Ward Beecher similarly wrote, “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” You don’t have to look far to find quotes like these, because art is something we consider intensely human. Art and the artist are so thoroughly intertwined that we can’t bear to think of one without the other. For better or worse, we’re going to have to rethink this comfortable little notion. Machine intelligence is advancing to the point where algorithms have begun to invade the world of culture and the aesthetic. From recommendations to evaluation to the production of art itself, computers arebecoming a force to be reckoned within the creative realm.The Search for Creative AssetsWhen you make a TV ad in Ukraine (as I have), you generally do it on a tight budget. You certainly don’t have the money to buy the rights tothe latest hit by a big pop star or a vintage Beatles classic. There are some local musicians who can create something for you, but thats a prettyinvolved effort and, to be frank, the quality isn’t worth it.I found a good solution with DeWolfe Music, which is an online database that gives you access to thousands of songs from unknowncomposers and performers. You can search by music genre, keyword (e.g. an artist that you’re trying to emulate) and tempo, quickly find whatyou need and license the music for a small fee.Newer services, such as Pandora and Spotify, deploy a similar idea in order to build custom radio stations. Rather than a human programmingdirector choosing your music, you can just give the software some clues about what you might want to listen to and it designs a selection from anearly infinite database to cater to your mood and preference.This is all done through the use of complex mathematical techniques, such as Bayesian classifiers and Gaussian copulas, that recognizesimilarities between data sets. So just like a sommelier might ask you what wine you typically like and offer you something similar,recommendation algorithms can do the same with music, films and even art.
Cultivating CreativityBeing able to search and find elements of art and culture is one thing, but can computers appreciate quality?Mike McCready has shown that they can. His company, Music X-Ray, offers a service where composers can upload their music to evaluate itshit potential and it has been shown, in many cases, to outperform professional music executives (reportedly predicting the success of NorahJones when many industry experts were skeptical).As crazy as the idea sounds, you’ve probably recently listened to many songs identified by the service. Every major label now uses someversion of it and they’re not alone. Movie studios employ a similar service, called Epagogix to tell them which scripts are likely to becomebox office hits.And it doesn’t stop there. Music scholar and composer David Cope has built algorithms which create music that has drawn critical acclaim. Infact, even music experts can’t tell the difference. When Cope’s computer generated music was played along with a Bach piece and anotheroriginal composition, they couldn’t correctly identify which was which.What is Creativity?As impressive as all of this is, it creates a particularly thorny, visceral problem: If creativity can be reduced to an algorithm, doesn’t it lose itssoul?While I admit, I find something troubling in all of this as well, after thinking it through I have come to believe that artificial intelligence actuallyhas the potential to help us appreciate creativity even more, in much the same way as Richard Feynman explains how understanding the innerworkings of a flower help him acknowledge its beauty.Our brains, in many ways, are inferior to computers. They transmit information at the relatively feeble rate of 200 mph, vs the speed of light forcomputer chips. They get tired, need nourishment, age, forget things and don’t interface with other databases of information effectively.Objectively speaking, they are slow, inefficient and prone to error.
Their saving grace is that they are a massively parallel complex network. They are made up of 100 billion neurons and each one can connectto any other. These interfaces, called synapses, optimize themselves as they strengthen and decay with use and link to the outside worldthrough our five senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell.While computers have relatively few active pathways at work at any given time, we have millions, giving rise to infinite permutations of thoughts,feelings, bodily functions and sensory inputs. Perhaps not surprisingly, these hierarchies get tangled, resulting in strange loops that manifestthemselves in what we have come to know as original creativity.As Douglas Hofstadter said, “In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference.”Rethinking the Creative ProcessThe creative process has always been cloaked in mystery and artistic types tend to be resistant to formality. Nevertheless, professionalindividuals and organizations strive to develop an effective framework to enhance the productivity and quality of their work and creativityresearchers have been able to identify some basic principles of creativity.However, in light of the breakthroughs in machine creativity, I think that we need to revisit past thinking about creativity and identify three majorprocesses:Forming Intent: Every creative endeavor has its purpose. Designers work on a brief that someone else creates while true artists form their ownpurpose, but in either case, the final result is, in essence, a solution to a particular problem.For example, my purpose in creating ads was to sell a product, while Picasso’s purpose in creating cubism was to establish a fundamentallydifferent way at looking at the world. In the final analysis, both are judged by the significance and the degree to which the original intent wasfulfilled.
Searching the Domain: As Howard Gardner explained in his highly regarded study, Creating Minds , great creativity requires a thoroughknowledge of the domain. Picasso’s cubism, for example, was inspired by his encounter with obscure African art. The larger your database ofexperience, the greater your ability to create.Computers obviously far outperform humans in this regard. They have practically limitless memory and their vast computational power enablesthem to search incredibly quickly and accurately.Tangling Hierarchies: As I’ve written before, great breakthroughs come from synthesizing across domains, whether that be Picasso’sblending of European and African art or Rock and Roll’s unique fusion of various american music styles. It is when two or more ideas collide ina meaningful way that people find inspiration and creative flow.It is this last trick, that of emulating the strange loops in our mind, which computers have recently learned how to do, that has given rise tomachine creativity. David Cope, for example, found that his computer generated music was dull and lifeless until he injected an element ofrandomness into his algorithms.Flying By WirePilots don’t really fly planes anymore as much as they direct them. These days, their controls and instruments don’t actually connect to theplane’s mechanism, but to computers which translate their intent into meaningful action. In doing so, they make flying far safer and moreefficient.This is known as flying by wire and we don’t see anything threatening or strange about it. While at first it may seem to be a bit moredisconcerting when computers start navigating the realm of abstract thought rather than the mechanics of aviation, it shouldn’t be, any morethan driving a car should affect our feelings about walking.So what makes us creative? Our ability to form our own intent. It is only through creating a purpose that is uniquely our own that we can fullyembody the human spirit.image credit: ornaross.com Greg Satell is an internationally recognized authority on Digital Strategy and Innovation. He is available for consulting and speaking engagements in the areas of digital innovation, innovation management, digital marketing and publishing, as well as offshore web and app development. Check out his site, Digital Tonto and follow him on twitter.
When is it Not the Right Time to Innovate?Posted on February 10, 2013 by Simon HillIt seems that business creativity and innovation are a success-driving mechanism for everygrowing and ambitious company. Often seen as a main core competence, innovation givesthe impression to be the recipe for success in every industry all the time, but withoutinnovation management, business creativity may be fruitless.There are many situations when companies realize it is not the right time to innovate.Circumstances can deceive and create a sense of urgency for innovation, but the topmanagers decide it is not the right moment. What areas of business need a creative boostand where the hidden related innovation opportunities are must be very clear. A rightcombination of attractive and realistic business creativity and innovation is what really makesdifference in the saturated and competitive western market. That can only occur by proper innovation management.Below are listed six cases when business creativity and innovation are not the best possible approach for a company:1. Good Results Without Innovating: When an old and well-known product has been for a while in the market and still brings considerablerevenue, there is no risk in offering the same product. It maintains brand awareness and is likely to be successful in the foreseeable future.2. Resistance to Change: When the target audience is reluctant to accept any radical modification of an existing product or a new one fromyour company. Clients in such cases can be really conservative and might even switch to a competitor`s brand if you offer them somethingfuturistic.3. Company in Crisis: When the company is currently not doing very well, a better option would be to stick to their core product and try toimprove it, making it more marketable. An organization needs financial stability to embark on an innovation journey, which always involvesuncertainties and pitfalls.4. No Ideas: Even though the image of every company is partly determined by how often they release a new product or an enhanced version ofan existing one, it is crucial to know where exactly a company places their innovative emphasis on. A new idea has to be targeted and expectedto achieve a particular positive impact.5. Copying Other Companies’ Ideas: Sometimes, due to a lacking creative drive within a company, it starts mimicking a newly released andsuccessful product of another company. The result is usually a failure as the original product, even if really innovative because the previouslyreleased has already established a special niche for itself.
Regardless of the current economic environment, companies are compelled to innovate in order to prosper. Although companies like Old Spiceand Colman’s rely on the classic appearance of their products and are still successful, in most cases business creativity and innovation create acompetitive edge.image credit: twitter.com Simon Hill is CEO and co-founder of Wazoku, an idea software company, an Associate Director with the Venture Capital Firm FindInvestGrow and an active member of the London technology and entrepreneurial community.
The Art of 5 WhysPosted on February 11, 2013 by Matthew E MayRecently I had a conversation with a friend who was upset about somedirectional shifts and looming job shuffles swirling around their company. As Ilistened to the lament, I recognized the fact that they were focusing on thesymptoms of the issue. All of his reactions and proposed courses of action inresponse to the unsettling circumstances didn’t address what I could tell wassomething deeper.My friend had lost the raison d’être for his work. The connection to a higherpurpose, or a deeper cause, simply wasn’t there any longer. The solution,according to my friend, was to immediately leave. While in the end it may play out to be the right thing to do, the problem-solving coach gene inme couldn’t resist butting in.“Have you ever done a 5 Whys on your work?” I asked.“What do you mean?” came the reply.I explained how The 5 Whys is a simple but powerful problem-solving technique that allows you to dip below the surface level of a problem touncover and identify the root cause of the issue. It’s something I learned and mastered at Toyota, and have been teaching ever since.It’s simple enough to employ. You begin with a statement of the problem, then ask a series of childlike “Whys” to get to the bottom of the issue.Let’s say your son or daughter comes home with a D in Math on their report card. For most parents, that’s a clearly defined problem. The 5Whys goes something like this:“Why did you get a D in Math?” After much “I don’t knowing” and shoulder-shrugging:“Because I didn’t do all my homework assignments.”Note that if you stop right there, the solution goes something like: “Get in your room and do your homework–no TV, no computer, no iPhone, noiPad…in fact, no dinner until you’re done.” Incomplete homework is mostly likely not the real issue, though. So you need to press on.“Why didn’t you do your homework?”“I hate math.” (Ugly face, like they just swallowed Drano.)“Why do you hate math so much?”“Because I suck at it.” (Getting perturbed.)
“Why do you think you suck at it?”“I don’t just don’t get it.” (Throwing hands in the air. Sometimes accompanied by backtalk: “OK? Are you happy now? I said it. I’m stupid.”)Aha. Now the solution looks quite different: “Get in your room and understand it.” (Just kidding!) Seriously, your child needs extra help withMath. Maybe that’s you, maybe it’s a special school program, maybe it’s a tutor. The possibilities emerge once the root cause is discovered.Now, there are a few things to note about this. First of all, it didn’t take five Whys, it took four. There is no magic around the number 5, contraryto popular belief. It’s a heuristic, a guideline, not an algorithm. With a well-framed problem, it may only take a couple Why? questions. If,however, you go beyond 5, it’s a good bet you need to rescope your initial problem statement, because it’s not specific enough.Also, The 5 Whys is not a horizontal inquiry. In other words, you’re not asking “Why else?” time after time. Rather, you’re feeding off theprevious answer to a Why? question. It’s a vertical dive. And as such it’s much like drilling for oil: sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t.You may be solving the wrong problem, or your Whys don’t hang together logically. Sometimes they become circular.If, say, you had asked one more Why? ala “Why didn’t you ask for help?” the response may have just taken you back up the chain–your childhated Math so much the thought of spending more time on it was distasteful. (Or perhaps another response to the same fifth Why? might haveopened a whole other can of worms: “I was afraid to ask for help.”) So there’s a bit of an art and skill (which simply comes from regular practice)to deploying the right set of Whys?One trick, a test, really, is to make sure all your answers to the Whys make as much logical sense going up as they seem to going down. Inother words, in the homework case, starting at the bottom and working your way up: your child doesn’t understand Math, so they perform poorlyat it, which results in them not liking it. And because they don’t like it, they avoid doing their homework, which results in a D on their report card.Makes sense down and up.I’m constantly amazed at how few people still aren’t aware of the technique, despite it’s appearance in many domains. The renowned productdesign firm IDEO used it in interviewing dieting women around the country to understand their attitudes and behaviors around weigh loss.Dozens of books (including one of my own) cover it.Back to my friend. I told him the story of how a colleague of mine at Toyota years ago used The 5 Whys to create his own first job. His managerin Japan told him, after his initial training, told him: “go dig your own job.” So he set off in search of a problem to solve, which he did,discovering that a contentious relationship existed between Toyota and General Motors with respect to the supply of parts to joint Toyota/GMoperations in the U.S. (this was back in the early 1990s). Why the bad relationship? Because there was no formal supply contract. Why wasthere no contract? Because Toyota and GM couldn’t agree to terms, so there was no basis for a contract. Why couldn’t they agree? Becausethere were serious misunderstandings regarding Toyota policies, such as parts pricing. Why the misunderstanding? Because Toyota had neverreally explained the rationale behind their policies regarding the supply of parts, and would not negotiate parts pricing, much to theconsternation of GM. Why no negotiation? By talking to both parties using his bilingual skill, my colleague quickly came to the conclusion that
the root of the problem was to be found in the general lack of communication between Toyota and GM. Communication was not occurringbecause neither party knew how to explain their position–they simply did not speak the other’s language.I could see my friend’s mental wheels spinning. I suggested he might use The 5 Whys to find his own personal and professional “root cause” inlife. I suggested he should find some quiet time for reflection, and gave this example of how it could work:Start with your job description, what you get paid to do. Let’s say, for hypothetical purposes, that you’re a census taker. You collect nationwidehousehold information and compile thorough reports. Then it’s a matter of peeling the onion. Why is collecting nationwide householdinformation important? Because it gives the government current information on our nation’s population. Why is that important? Because we canthen understand our population trends. Why is that important? Because it helps our government make informed decisions. Why is thatimportant? Because it enables the government to improve the social welfare of the nation. And there’s the real “cause”: improving the welfare ofthe nation.The beauty of using The 5 Whys to understand your real work–work with a capital W–is that it frees you to accept a wider variety of jobs,because you can remain true to your cause regardless of the form your Work takes. Designers call this “form following function.”By getting to the bottom of the simple question - Why is my work important? – a manager might begin to view their real work as helping peopleimprove their performance, not just running a department. A factory worker in an automotive plant might begin to view their real work asprotecting families as they travel, not just operating machinery. A coffee shop counterperson might view their real work as helping busy peopleget a nice start to a hectic day. A golf course greenskeeper might begin to view his work not as lawn maintenance, but rather a creativechallenge: enabling golfers to shoot their best round.I don’t know if my friend actually did The 5 Whys, but I hope they did.Do you use The 5 Whys? If so, how and when and where? I’d love to hear stories! Matthew E. May is the author of “IN PURSUIT OF ELEGANCE: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing.” He is constantly searching for creative ideas and innovative solutions that are ‘elegant’ – a unique and elusive combination of unusual simplicity and surprising power.
Key Issues in Innovation ManagementPosted on February 13, 2013 by Ralph Ohr and Tim KastelleWhat are key innovation issues facing the business community rightnow?When Ralph Ohr and Tim Kastelle met up in person recently they had a greattalk about this question. The discussion continued over email, and here are thefour innovation management issues that they believe people need to bethinking about right now.Differentiated and integrative innovation conceptsSustainable innovation cannot be achieved by one-size-fits-all and one-sided approaches. It requires a common understanding of whatinnovation is, classifying concepts in order to assure individual assessments as well as differentiated approaches for firms to strengthen theirinnovation capabilities and performance. Further, innovation is about balancing complementary, and often opposing, variables. Therefore,integrative frameworks may help to gain a more holistic perspective and direction of impact. Examples:• The Innovation Matrix is supposed to help assigning firms to one of nine types of innovative organizations. Depending on thecharacterization, a tailored approach can be developed in order to define where innovation should sit in the business model and how to drivegrowth.• The Three Horizons Model integrates a short, middle and long term view of innovation, often being in tension to each other. It enablesgenerating a balanced innovation portfolio, consisting of activities with different time horizons. This model can be of great benefit when it comesto mixing incremental and radical innovation activities with regard to risk and strategic alignment.• As outlined previously, firms need to ensure a balance of exploiting existing businesses with exploring new opportunities, i.e. they need tobecome ambidextrous in order to thrive sustainably. As each direction of impact requires dedicated culture, metrics, leadership, mindset andorganizational setup, this is another tension to be managed. An integrative framework (below) can be useful to determine a firm’s inclinationand how to move towards a balanced innovation capability. It’s important to note – particularly for leaders: Exploration and exploitation aredifferent, but equally important!
Startups, typically positioned in the upper left quadrant need to move to the right direction for increased exploitation and optimization of newbusinesses. Bigger, established companies, in turn, aim at strengthening their exploration capabilities by moving from the bottom right boxupwards. One of the main challenges for organizations to attain ambidexterity is to simultaneously enable separation and integration of bothdirections. While novel opportunities flourish best when they don’t interfere with core business, they must be linked to the firm’s core in order toscale successfully after validation.A more detailed discussion of this issue is planned for an upcoming post. On a personal level, sustainable innovation requires integrativeinstead of either-or thinking. In order to be able to manage ambidexterity, Roger Martin suggests to balance reliability with validity bydeveloping a design thinking mindset.Reinvention and business model innovationAs the life times of business models steadily decrease and more radical innovation activities are about to enter the pipelines of most firms,the business model is the new unit of design. Indeed, research has confirmed that business model innovators outperform traditionalinnovators over time.One key issue here is to establish systematic approaches to business model innovation. While most companies have proven processes forproduct innovation in place, only few follow process models for innovating business models. Steve Blank has recently pointed out thatgeneration of novel and reinvention of existing business models is imperative for corporations to succeed in the time to come. Some of hispoints are:
• For companies to survive in the 21st century they need to continually create a new set of businesses, by inventing new business models.• Most of these new businesses need to be created outside of the existing business units.• The exact form of the new business models is not known at the beginning. It only emerges after an intense business model design and searchactivity based on the customer development process.Unlike execution of existing business models, the invention and validation of new business models is based on a scientific and emergentapproach: defining and testing hypotheses through rapid iterative experimentation. This is what the Lean Startup approach is about. It alsoimplies designing and testing solutions on a minimum viable basis to gain a high iteration and learning frequency through customer feedback.To develop the ever more important (re-) invention and search capabilities into new fields, existing companies are challenged to consider toimplement the lean startup concept. Or as Eric Ries puts it: Entrepreneurship is the new corporate function.Another key issue for existing, in particular larger companies, will be to build a structure, capable of successfully combining search (=generation and validation of new business models) and execution (= scaling and improvement of existing business models).Co-creation through open and social approaches
Facing growing complexity, organizations are finding it increasingly impossible to be successful when entirely operating on their own. To moveinnovation forward more effectively and efficiently, they aim at building appropriate networks and partnerships. Findings of a recent IBM studyconfirm outperformers to be more inclined to innovate with external partners – including customers. It suggests a clear tendency to leverageopenness, connectedness and co-creation.Combining internal and external capabilities is becoming crucial for organizations to survive and thrive. Interorganizational partnerships anddistributed value networks can be formed to pursue open business models and complementary capabilities. One interesting example is theintensified partnering between startups and larger firms to achieve sustainable innovation by combining their natural strengths. Thereis one simple reason behind: customer value and continuous disruption don’t care about silos and boundaries.There is also a growing awareness of the benefits to make organizations more social. According to Nilofer Merchant, becoming social isabout connecting things, people and ideas. Networks of connected people with shared interests and goals create ways that can producereturns for any company that serves their needs. This refers to both the organizational and the individual level. As for organizations, it’s allabout moving from isolation to communities. Here is Nilofer again:The social era will reward those organizations that understand they can create more value with communities than they can on their own.Communities of proximity, where participants share a geographic location (Craigslist is an example but co-working locations are another) willallow people to organize work differently. Communities of passion who share a common interest (photography, or food, or books) can informnew product lines. Communities of purpose will willingly share a common task to build something (like Wikipedia) that will carry your brand andits offer to another level. Communities of practice, where they share a common career or field of business, will extend your offer because itextends their expertise (like McAfee mavens). Communities of providence that allow people to discover connections with others (as inFacebook) and thus enable the sharing of information, products and ideas.On the people level, connecting individual stakeholders through social business design – particularly involving customers – is on the rise. Insocial organizations, people are seen as most valuable asset to make a difference. As discussed here, a higher degree of connectedness incombination with making interaction workers more effective and efficient, seems to be a prerequisite for strategic advantage over industrypeers. Moreover, social designs bear significant potential to help organizations in better tackling the complexity of business model innovation,adaptability and strategic reinvention.
Building a culture of experimentationOne of the best tools to use to improve innovation capability is experimentation. We often think that great businesses are built on great ideas.But the fact of the matter is that great businesses are usually built by tinkering until their great idea emerges – this is the story told in Little Betsby Peter Sims.Experimentation is an organisational skill that underlies all of the other issues that we have raised here. While there is no one-size-fits allinnovation tool, experimenting is pretty close to being a one-size-fits all innovation skill. It is an approach that works best when it is used totest hypotheses – so that it enables structured learning. Experiments and hypothesis testing are an essential part of business modelinnovation. If we are trying to embed lean startup principles into larger organisations, this is a capability that must be there. Experimenting isalso central to co-creation and other social approaches.Startups and smaller organisations often experiment naturally. The issue that we would like to raise is that this skill must also be nurtured inlarger organisations as well. If you’re a manager, this means building experimenting into your organisational structure and routines. If you arereporting to someone, it means figuring out how much you can get away with, and using that scope of action to support experiments.Other people may well come up with other innovation issues that are important, but these are the ones that seem most interesting to us rightnow. Now we just need to start making progress on them! Therefore, we’ll try to elaborate on these issues in the time to come, in order toprovide further ideas to help make innovation more successful.image credits: theinnovationleadershipnetwork.com Dr. Ralph-Christian Ohr has extensive experience in product/innovation management for international technology-based companies. His particular interest is targeted at the intersection of organizational and human innovation capabilities. You can follow him on Twitter @Ralph Ohr. Tim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.
Attitude Reflects LeadershipPosted on February 8, 2013 by Mike MyattMy question for you today is a simple one: ”How’s Your Attitude?” Show me aCEO with a bad attitude and I’ll show you a poor leader. While this soundssimple enough at face value, I have consistently found one of the most oftenoverlooked leadership attributes is having a consistently positive attitude. As aCEO, how can you expect to inspire, motivate, engender confidence, and tolead with a lousy attitude? The simple answer is that you can’t – it just won’twork. In today’s post I’ll examine the importance of CEOs having a positiveattitude…I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to watch one of my clients deliver akeynote at a national conference, and while I expected nothing less than an outstanding presentation, what I ended-up witnessing was a truemasterclass in the contagious, inspirational power that comes from positive leadership. What made this presentation so powerful was it wasmore than just an act put on for the benefit of the attendees, it was completely authentic and the audience knew it. This is a relatively newclient, but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, his positivity sets the tone for the entire organization and has produced incredible results.Let me be clear – don’t underestimate the power of a positive attitude.Clearly the topic of “attitude” has been addressed ad-nauseum in many a self-help piece, but this doesn’t mean that it is not worthy of topicalconsideration for chief executives. Leaders are not perfect, and as CEO, trust me when I tell you you’re going to have your fair share of baddays. The difference between you the CEO, and everyone else on the planet is you don’t have the luxury of displaying a bad attitude.
Why then do so many CEOs appear to have a bad attitude? While there are certainly a variety of reasons (ego, arrogance, pride, etc.) for why aCEO can display a bad attitude, I believe in many instances it’s because they have fallen prey to a bad habit. Yes, attitudes are formed, and abad attitude is nothing more than an ingrained habit. The good news is that habits can be broken. So, this begs the question how does a CEOknow when they have a bad attitude? If you answer yes to any one of the following five questions, then you are likely in need of an attitudeadjustment:1. Are your likeability and respect ratings low? While being a great CEO is not a popularity contest, the fact is most great CEOs are bothwell liked and respected. They have the full faith and trust of their stakeholders, and possess strong positive relationships acrossconstituencies. What do you reflect, and what do people see in you? If you are not well liked and respected then you will have consistent, self-imposed obstacles placed in your path that inhibit your ability to be an effective leader. Ask yourself this question – If an election for CEO washeld today, would your stakeholders re-elect you in a landslide victory? If not, why not?2. Do you tend to have a pessimistic outlook on things? If you aren’t excited about the start of each day, display a “same crap…differentday” attitude, or have a “glass is half empty” perspective on things, then you likely have a bad attitude.3. Do people seek your input, advice, and counsel? If people see you coming and quickly run the other way, you have an attitude problem.Great CEOs are magnets who attract the attention of others. If people shy away from you versus clamor for your attention, you likely have anattitude problem.4. Are you often frustrated wondering why others don’t see things your way? Everyone can have a bad day, and while it’s okay to have apity-party every once in a while, it is not the kind of party you want to throw very often, and never publicly. If the majority of your conversationsand interactions are negative or confrontational you likely have an attitude problem.5. Do you have difficulty attracting and retaining tier-one executive talent? The simple truth is people strongly desire to work with and forgreat leaders. Great CEOs are talent magnets – people want to be led by those who have much to offer. If you struggle with recruiting, teambuilding, and leadership development you likely have a bad attitude.
If you still don’t know whether or not your attitude is affecting your performance, I would strongly suggest participation in a 360 review process where your strengths and weakness are objectively assessed by those whom you interface with on a frequent basis. Lastly, following are few statistics that might convince you to change your outlook on life if you tend to be a pessimist:1. People with bad attitudes have an 800% higher incident rate of being diagnosed with clinical depression.2. People who possess a negative outlook on life are four times more likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack, or be diagnosed with cancer.3. People who have bad attitudes have more career turnover.4. People with bad attitudes have a 50% higher divorce rate.5. People with bad attitudes are ten times more likely to have poor relationships with their children. If your attitude is impeding your relationships, your talent, or your health, it might be time to consider making some changes. If you have any great stories about how attitudes impact leadership and morale please share them in the comments section below. Thoughts? Mike Myatt, is a Top CEO Coach, author of “Leadership Matters…The CEO Survival Manual“, and Managing Director of N2Growth.
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