Monday, 3 February 2014

The Other side of innovation.

There are 5 reasons that I like this book.

1. There is a strong theme - ideas are just the beginning, ideation is in service of a deeper learning journey. Nothing too revelatory about this you might be thinking? And yes that is the point, but the twist comes in recognising just what it is that can get in the way of ideas becoming proven success stories - in the real world.

2. The next interesting argument is this - if you want to innovate, you have to pull together a special team - which might require you bringing in some new hires - fresh faces from outside your organisation. For some - this is going to be the breaker - trust, respecting the status quo, understanding the way things are done around here. But this is the point. To innovate, by definition, requires fresh perspective. It is about facing into the fear of the unknown.

3. Act as if you are building a start-up within your existing company. Yes, this is what makes this an interesting book, the idea that you can actually protect innovation inside a larger organisation - as if you were starting again from scratch. In fact, some have actually cut the innovation team lose in terms of having their own profit and loss account! The challenge of cutting free from the financial security, and trusted larger brands/products or services, is in fact a good way to hang on to your more entrepreneurial people.

4. But make sure you manage the relationship between the innovation team and the rest of your organisation! So this is anticipating conflict - before it hits - and yes, it will hit the fan. This is going to be the hardest part, as there are many processes or functions which your company will be able to handle - without reinventing the wheel - that will support the new innovation. Dividing the work in this way may be perceived badly by dedicated and hardworking staff, if it is not framed well, in advance and during the new learning and innovation that unfolds. Partnership.

5. Keep moving on up. This is where I make links to the work of Eric Reis (lean start up) and validating knowledge through cycles of testing and learning. It is termed here: 'running disciplined experiments'. Learning not results, talk about what you don't know, revise the plan as you go and capture records of great conversations and learning. Seek the truth (not what you think people want to hear) but find ways of promoting accountability!

In short, this is a fantastic and practical read if you are not scared of mixing things up in service of deeper learning: innovation.


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