Fixing Your Misaligned Innovation Strategy

Successful innovation is only possible when an organization’s strategy, culture and capabilities are all aligned. An innovation strategy unsupported by or in conflict with either capabilities or culture is doomed to fail. The most challenging to align are strategy and culture. Imagine Albert Einstein working for you. Or Thomas Edison. Would their ideas flourish in your culture—in your work environment?…

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Innovation: You Can’t Get There From Here

Innovation extends from our current knowledge, technology and ethnography into what theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman coined as the Adjacent Possible.[i] Described by innovation theorist Steven B. Johnson[ii] as, “a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things,” the Adjacent Possible “is a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.”…

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The Report of Brainstorming’s Death has been Greatly Exaggerated

At least once a year some self-proclaimed pundit decries that brainstorming is ineffective. Is it? Or is it more likely that brainstorming just didn’t work for what it was asked to do in that instance. Brainstorming is not appropriate for every situation, and is only effective when used appropriately and properly. Brainstorming is a free-form divergent thinking tool used most…

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Innovation is a Team Sport

Great innovations are not achieved by solitary work, created in a vacuum or emerge fully mature when first conceived. Innovations are not the product of a sudden brainstorm from a single individual—a light bulb moment, if you will. Those are sources of ideas. And contrary to popular myth, great minds do not think alike; although great minds are open to…

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To Avoid Obsolescence Forget Everything You Know

Organizational Learning, the process of creating, retaining, and transferring knowledge within an organization, is a perennial management topic, but Organizational Unlearning is far more important. Intentionally forgetting old knowledge and old routines to make way for new learning, new ideas and new methods. As Frank Lloyd Wright has been reported to say, “An architect’s most useful tools are an eraser…

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Innovation: What You Think Matters Little

No matter what business you think you’re in, you’re in the tool business. Your customers are not buying the set of features you offer. They’re buying tools that (they hope) will solve their problems and produce their desired results. Often a gap exists between the results you believe your tools are capable of producing and the results your customer produces…

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