innovation excellence weekly - issue 27
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DESCRIPTIONWe are proud to announce our twenty-seventh Innovation Excellence Weekly for Slideshare. Inside you'll find ten of the best innovation-related articles from the past week on Innovation Excellence - the world's most popular innovation web site and home to 5,000+ innovation-related articles.
April 5, 2013
Issue 27 April 5, 2013
1. Step One in Cultivating an Innovation Culture........................... Matthew E May
2. 3 Keys to the Future of Digital Business ....... Greg Satell
3. Are You Radiohead, U2, or ? ......... Tomislav Buljubasic
4. 100% of Companies Have This Problem ........ Mike Myatt
5. You Say Second Screen. I Say First! ...... Nicolas Bry
6. Where Do You Put the Creativity? ..... Jeffrey Baumgartner
7. Heres One Good Way to Kill Innovation .................................. Tim Kastelle
8. The Dark Side of Innovation Teams ..... Salvael Ortega
9. The Power of Positive Constraints ........ Stephen Shapiro
10. Its Not Just Semantics Managing Outcomes Vs. Outputs ... Deb Mills-Scofield
Your hosts, Braden Kelley, Julie Anixter and Rowan Gibson, are innovation writers, speakers and
strategic advisors to many of the worlds leading companies.
Our mission is to help you achieve innovation excellence inside your own organization by making
innovation resources, answers, and best practices accessible for the greater good.
Cover Image credit: U2 from Bigstock
Step One in Cultivating an Innovation Culture
Posted on April 1, 2013 by Matthew E May
When I speak to groups or meet with prospective new clients, one of the most
frequently asked questions I field is: Whats my first step in creating a culture of
company wide innovation?
I love the question because I believe that innovation must occur at every level of
the company. Now, that doesnt mean (necessarily) that the receptionist is
going to create your next breakthrough product. But it does mean that everyone
must look for and find a way to do their work better than its ever been done
before, to look for and find new and better ways to deliver value to customers,
and to do that at as often as possible, even every day.
For many companies, and perhaps even most, I believe theres a pre-step: understanding that innovation is everyones job. Think about it:
where does the greatest cumulative potential reside? On the front lines. Not in the C-suite. There are simply more people on the front lines,
more working with your system every day, more interacting with and serving customers daily. So it all starts with understanding that building a
portfolio of cross-company ideas is like building any other high-performing portfolio: its a numbers game.
The challenge then is how to draw out the creative power of people in an organized, systematic way that provides a safe haven for everyone
involved, declaws the fear of failure, and begins to embed a real discipline around finding and solving problems. Thats the first step.
My suggestion is to shy away from big programs bent on massive disruption at first, and start with a single teamone manager and a natural
work group. Lets say that manager is you. (The strategy is the same whether youre CEO or a first-rung supervisor, but from my experience,
change spreads and happens faster at the front lines.)
You now strike a deal up front. Meaning, you agree to to say yes to your teams idea or solution, one they choose, if it meets the
1. The team is to work in the general territory of something you feel needs attentionsomething of concern or that clearly advances a current
business objective. (Its probably something that keeps you up at night).
2. The idea theme must concern something within your base of responsibility, power and controlsomething you can sanction immediately
without further approval.
3. The team is to develop a no- or low-cost solution that can be piloted quickly.
4. The team works on a problem they all touch and have working knowledge of.
5. The project must result in a clear value enhancement: quality, cost, speed, etc.
6. The project is an experiment, and nothing gets broad execution until the learning is captured and theres a compelling case for feeding it
But(you knew this was coming!)there are a few donts (many of which become irrelevant once you become a competent
Dont address an area where there is no consensus on the issues importance to the company or customers.
Dont head for an area lacking good visibility.
Dont work on something where results wont show up for several months.
Dont pick an area fraught with controversy inside the company.
Dont select an area lacking strong interest.
Dont select something beyond the control of the team.
Dont target an issue already undergoing study or change.
Dont use this as an opportunity to execute an already developed solution.
And heres the big one: dont head for anything that doesnt play to the teams real strength.
As the manager and champion, youre NOT part of the problem-solving team. Youre the sanctioning body. A big part of your role is answering
the two questions that will be foremost on their mind: Why am I here? and Why are we doing this? So you need to provide the context, issue
the challenge and convey the importance of the team. You need to talk about the importance of improving things for your customers.
One of the best ways to do all of that is to talk about the gap between today and tomorrow, as you see it. Tell the team why they have been
chosen. Tell them the scope and direction of where youd like them to exert their best thinking. Tell them that you have no preconceived
solutions, that the specific problem addressed or project chosen is up to them, but that youre looking for a simple, inexpensive solution that
they can easily test out quickly.
Tell them that their engagement and thinking are more important than the outcome, and that the goal is to learn. Tell them they will run the test
of their own solution and report the results, that youre not looking for just a recommendation. Tell them that you look forward to hearing their
idea, and how it worked or didnt work in the real world. Show your appreciation in advance for the hard work.
These are some of specifics behind how I answer the question of how to take the first step in building a culture of everyday innovation: one
team at a time, one manageable idea at a time.
The key is local autonomy.
Matthew E. May is the author of IN PURSUIT OF ELEGANCE: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing. He is
constantly searching for creative ideas and innovative solutions that are elegant a unique and elusive combination of
unusual simplicity and surprising power
3 Keys to the Future of Digital Business
Posted on April 1, 2013 by Greg Satell
Winston Churchill once wrote that The empires of the future are the empires of
the mind. I think its clear thats never been more true than today.
As old line industrial firms struggle to survive, web based startups less than two
years old become billion dollar enterprises. While the past few decades have
been characterized by offshoring to cheap labor markets, now manufacturing is
coming back, albeit to factories that are largely ran by algorithms.
The underlying trend is the rise of informational content in the products and
services that make up our economy and, increasingly, that information is managed by machines rather than humans. That is the essence of
digital business and its changing everything we thought we knew about creating value. Here are 3 keys to understanding the new era.
1. The Singularity is Near
In The Singularity Is Near , technology pioneer Ray Kurzweil argues that the Moores Law concept applies far beyond processing power. In
his view, all technologies will essentially become information technologies, including energy. Therefore, all industries will eventually enjoy the
same exponential advancement as computer chips have.
Buy a box of cereal at Wal-Mart and youre not purchasing a mere assortment of grains packaged in cardboard, but also logistics and marketing
which, increasingly, are managed by computers rather than humans. In some cases, even the genetic algorithms that drive those processes
are largely self-organizing, with minimal human intervention.
The upshot, as the graph below shows, is that technology cycles are significantly truncating:
Thats all very exciting, but it does create a problem. As I pointed out in a post about Facebooks purchase of Instagram, when technology
cycles become shorter than corporate decision cycles, we need to change our entire basis for formulating strategy. Planning is giving way to
hacking and our mindset needs to change accordingly.
2. The End of the Computer Age
I remember when people first started buying computers in the early 1980s. They were primarily for fun, mostly used to horse around and play
games. Eventually, VisiCalc invented the electronic spreadsheet and computers became more useful, but we were still constrained by limits of
processing speed, storage and, once we got online, by bandwidth.
The typical family today owns a few laptops, a bunch of smartphones and maybe a tablet or two. Thats an enormous amount of computing
power and far more than we really need. Moreover, in ten years our technology will be 100 times more powerful; in 15 years, a thousand times
Obviously the present course is unsustainab