Otto von Bismarck once said, “Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others.” In Paul Sloane’s latest book, Think Like an Innovator, you will learn from the struggles and accomplishments of 76 of the world’s greatest thinkers: artists, business leaders, geniuses, inventors, mavericks, pioneers, scientists and visionaries.
Take a quick glance around your office. What do you see? Categorically “Start-up” types in t-shirts and jeans passing bottles of craft beer around? Or “Suits”, with their collars starched to perfection, hunched over their laptops and scrambling away at emails? What would happen if we flipped these scenarios around? I for one, would love to see my accountant rock up to work in a Hawaiian Shirt; a calculator in one hand, and a piña colada in the other. But what difference would this make?
After six months of hard work, we were sitting together on a warm spring afternoon enjoying a beer in one of Melbourne’s new hipster bars. We had learned a lot, traveled all over Australia and met amazingly passionate people. We’d put together a lean startup with a focus to test a simple business idea and we’d heard countless times how much our tools were needed. There was only one problem. We had failed.
Lands’ End CEO Federica Marchionni discusses the importance of recognizing weaknesses as opportunities for growth. She uses the clothing company’s push to open a 9,000-square-foot flagship store in New York City in just six weeks as an example of an opportunity for her company to prove that it could be quick and nimble under intense pressure.
William Marshall, co-founder and CEO of Planet Labs, says that starting a business should not be the first response to every pain point in the market, but decided only after it becomes clear that there is no other solution. Marshall also describes how passion and a breakthrough idea, not business skills or an MBA, are central to entrepreneurship.
The words evaluation and innovation are not often put together in one sentence. Most companies believe that measurement has a negative effect on creativity and innovation —it is seen as a control tool that harms, rather than supports, reflection and learning. While data is seen as a valuable source of discovering new trends and user needs, it is rarely used to measure internal innovation progress and capability. Because we see measurement as stifling innovation and creativity, companies rarely track the information needed to determine creative ability and innovation success. In fact, many organizations end up ignoring the issue all together.
South Park is a highly successful cartoon sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central TV network. The show was launched in 1997 and quickly became notorious for its rude language, minimalist characters and black, surreal satire. It was aimed at an adult audience and poked fun at a wide range of topical or taboo subjects. South Park has received many accolades, including five Primetime Emmy Awards. It is the third longest-running cartoon series in the U.S. behind The Simpsons and Arthur. Yet it was very nearly cancelled when initial tests showed that most people did not like it.
I recently wrote an article that outlined a new approach to developing and supporting successful innovation incubators and accelerators within corporate organizations. The article appeared to have touched a nerve as I had a number of people reach out to me to offer their experiences with incubators/accelerators. While I received a range of opinions, I was actually most interested in the stories of failure.
In the second article on innovation stakeholder management, Anthony Ferrier focuses on two examples where he tried to generate broad support for innovation efforts with varying degrees of success. The lessons learned from these experiences provide insights for practitioners to successfully navigate stakeholder relations.
Organizations increasingly seek new forms of innovation—and, for themselves, transformation—by engaging in co-creation with the suppliers, clients, and consumers that comprise their value streams. What insights might be gained from organizations that have begun to realize their potential for leadership by embracing openness as a core element of their charter? In this article innovation architect Doug Collins reflects on the progress that the Beijing Genomics Institute (B.G.I.) has made on this front. What lessons does B.G.I. have to teach organizations that decide to paddle with the Digital Age currents as opposed to against them?
The Nordic countries have a high number of start-up companies but are struggling with scaling their entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovations to global large-scale operations and companies. Yet, one Nordic company namely Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems managed to become world-beater within the global wind turbine industry. But but after 2008 Vestas has experienced a near death experience and is struggling for survival. Vestas’ story holds important lessons for other Nordic companies, not only within the renewable energy industry. It will here be argued that had Vestas paid more attention to what the management guru Peter Drucker labeled the five deadly business sins Vestas might have avoided getting into dire straits.
InnovationManagement is delighted to present a brand new Case Study highlighting the challenges of creating an innovation culture that: supports new product/service development initiatives, facilitates the creation of idea campaigns, spurs employee engagement and develops business value. In this article, Colin Nelson, Director of Strategic Consulting at HYPE Innovation, delves deeper into how collaborative innovation challenges were identified, managed and successfully overcome at Swisslog.
While the previous two methods – Netnography and Social Media Solution Scouting – outline the potential of passive methods in using the power of social media for innovation, the next two approaches enable companies to interact with consumers. Configuration Tools as well as Innovation Contests invite users outside the company’s four walls to become an active part of new product development. In part two of this article you will learn how Audi and Henkel empowered the crowd and turned them into co-producers.
Open innovation has found its way into companies’ innovation processes and is a widely used approach to spur collaborative innovation with consumers. A multitude of methods and tools have come into being, creating confusion about how to make the most out of users’ knowledge and creativity. This article provides innovation managers with insights into four popular open innovation practices at four German blue chips and contrasts the various approaches.
What can small business learn from big business when it comes to innovation? Plenty, if the big businesses are recognized innovative giants. The New York Times recently took a look at how Google, GE and DreamWorks encourage innovation. Here are some valuable lessons for businesses of any size.