Kittens are ‘fuzzy’ because they’re soft and fluffy. But if someone uses the same word to describe the early stages – or ‘front-end’ – of an innovation process, the meaning is less cute. In that case, ‘fuzzy’ means ‘blurry’, ‘unclear’ or even ‘incoherent’. In many cases, innovation projects start off as chaotic and seemingly aimless ventures. In fact, this happens so often, that organizations tend to accept the ‘fuzzy front-end of innovation’ as a necessary evil. At CREAX, we believe front-end fuzziness can and should be drastically reduced in order to innovate efficiently.
Jul 12, 2016 | In: Enabling Factors
In 1946, Soviet inventor and science fiction writer Genrich Altshuller developed a methodology called TRIZ. It became known as “the theory of inventive problem-solving” and was based on a simple premise: across different disciplines and applications, the same challenges occur again and again. Unfortunately, people keep solving nearly identical problems from scratch. The main lesson from TRIZ is this: if you understand how your innovation challenge is similar to someone else’s, you can reapply solutions that already exist, instead of reinventing the wheel time and again.
Someone once told me this: “Innovation is like an apparition of the Virgin Mary: one person saw her, but everyone talks about it.” Although funny, the quote aptly captures an attitude towards innovation that exists in many companies today. Innovation – and the skills that enable it – are sometimes considered as mystical gifts, preserved for the chosen few. In other cases, innovation is feared, because it involves unregulated processes, risk taking and investments with unpredictable outcomes. In this blog post, I’d like to make a case against this kind of innovation paralysis. Every company must innovate, and with the right understanding of the word ‘innovation’, every company can.