Deciding if an Innovation is too Innovative for your Firm

What are good metrics to measure the progress of innovative projects? How should you decide if an innovation is too innovative for your firm? Who was the most disruptive innovator of the last decade? Is there an easy method for improved customer insight? Answers to these are linked to in this week’s column. Here are the most actionable or inspirational blog posts from the open web!
Marcus’ favorite post this week for actionable knowledge and inspiration is the metrics to use to measure progress of innovative projects

A common theme in innovation strategy is exploitation versus exploration. Here are a couple of suggestions on how to handle that trade off:

It’s important to remember that innovation is about creating and capturing value – not about innovation for it’s own sake. The former marketing professor at Harvard offers an excellent counterweight to all the shouts for more disruptive innovation out there: Five issues to consider when deciding if an innovation is too innovative for your firm. Of course, the trick is to simultaneously handle the risk of killing your best growth opportunities just because your engineers might frame them in the wrong way.

Five issues to consider when deciding if an innovation is too innovative for your firm.

Another important aspect of the trade-off is to make sure that your investments in disruptive innovations are really delivering. For that, look at this excellent advice on which metrics to use and how to tell if they are making progress? In addition, here are four guidelines for how to handle the downside of entrepreneurial passion.

An easy method for improved customer feedback

If too much inspiration is not the problem, look at these three suggestions for how to discover true market opportunities for your technology. Even more actionable, here’s a post that complements the argument by giving an easy method for improved customer insight.

For the reader working with business model design, now there is yet another business model template by an experienced expert. The author interestingly adds an aspect of the business model rarely discussed in other templates: resource velocity.

If you’re using Osterwalder’s template for internal communication, as I know many European corporations are, this post of his might be a good primer on how to get the most out of your business model design meetings. And remember, accepting the right kind of mistakes is important when working with innovation.

A fourth link related to business model design is the Business Model Community, a very ambitious community providing high quality research by renowned scholars on the topic. I believe this one has the potential to become quite big with time.

If you – like me – often struggle to understand the logic behind the strategic choices of the most disruptive innovator of the last decade: Google, this excellent analytical blog post will help you greatly by offering an explanation of their actions.

holding a cup of warm liquid tends to make people more positive in a risky decision

I like to end this column with a very practical and down-to-earth advice that you can use in your every day working life dealing with innovation. Here’s this week’s hint:

Research at Yale University has shown that holding a cup of warm liquid instead of a cold liquid tends to make people in the experiment more positive in a hypothetical risky decision to hire a candidate for a project. Perhaps the effect holds for other risky decisions as well? To be on the safe side, I suggest you bring a cup of coffee or tea to your boss the next time you’re asking for funds for a risky innovation project!

Your comments are welcome!

Do you have any comments on the links presented here? Are some of them broken or not accessible from your network? Would you like more focus on peer-reviewed journals or more focus on pure blogs? Do you know of a blog post that you would like to see here next time? Feel free to send an email to marcus.linder@chalmers.se.

About Marcus Linder

Marcus LinderMarcus Linder researches environmental innovation among industrial firms at Chalmers University of Technology. Focus areas include strategic rationale and the practical how-to of including environmental aspects in the innovation process. An important starting point is that profitable environmental innovation often require more than just “quick-fixing” a firm’s existing offers. Theoretically, Marcus is grounded in the problem-solving perspective on management, a subset of the knowledge-based view of the firm. In terms of applied innovation management, his main passion lies in business model design. He is currently employed as a PhD student at Center for Business Innovation at Chalmers University of Technology. Before starting his PhD studies, Marcus successfully performed a business innovation project at CBI culminating in a new product concept now planned for market introduction by Göteborg Energi.

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