What’s the Best Way to Innovate?

What’s the Best Way to Innovate?

Innovation is no longer a nice to have; it’s a requirement for survival. So, how do you do it and is there a “best way to innovate”? David and Justin unpack that in this episode. Here are the notes from the show:

  • Innovation is a word often used and also often mistreated
    • It’s simply bringing something new to the table
    • In fact, the best innovations are generally a recombination of existing things
    • Uber didn’t invent cabs or the internet or mobile devices; it just put them together
  • See King Solomon in Ecc 1-9 (“What has been will be again…there is nothing new under the sun”. Underlying human needs and behaviors remain constant; but the adjacent possible allows for new innovation.
  • What is driving this trend besides technology? First it is important to realize that the pace of new knowledge creation is at such a pace that 90% of relevant knowledge in most industries has been created in the last 15 years. Knowledge  has replaced physical assets as the most important source of competitive advantage. Check out the podcast we did on collective intelligence for more on this topic.
  • Knowledge  has replaced physical assets as the most important source of competitive advantage.  Innovation by capturing new knowledge now is the best way to strategically grow a company.
  • Most growth today requires managing secondary capabilities well, which are capabilities that reside outside the walls of your firm.
  • Analysis + synthesis is the secret sauce
    • Plenty of organizations know how to analyze things – “show me the data” is a requirement before taking any steps forward
    • Precious few understand how to creatively envision and shape the future
    • This is because we’re still shaking off the cobwebs of the industrial age where “work” meant process and procedure, not creative thought
    • Our schools are largely still a product of this age as well – heavy on analysis, light on synthesis – putting different ideas together to make something new
  • 4 important capabilities an organization must build to be effective:
    • Recognize patterns of impending change in the marketplace you are serving – requires a sensory system to stay in touch with these changes
    • Capture opportunities that are emerging by bundling secondary capabilities with your primary capabilities internal to your organization.
    • Rapidly deploy these new products and services into the marketplace.
    • Create an ever faster way to learn and exploit new knowledge.
  • Where do innovative ideas come from? You can’t analyze your way into the future. Here are some tips.
  • Go beyond analysis. “We cannot analyze our way one inch into the future, for the simple reason that the future does not exist yet, so it’s not there to analyze.” (Richard Buchanan of Carnegie Mellon).
    • Begin to truly observe and ask “why” questions. Observe your customers and their behavior; ask them why they do what they do. Do the same thing with your employees. Dive deep into how your service is being delivered today. Understand players in your ecosystem. We’re all connected more than ever before. You’ll be surprised what connections you find.
    • Ask what if questions to envision alternative future scenarios. Bring in many viewpoints from all over the org. Provoke! If you sell a service – imagine it as a product on a shelf. If you are a product, imagine if you turned your business model into a service. Ask yourself and your team crazy questions without worry of constraints.
    • Filter, prioritize, and create experiments. Create a criteria set. Focus on a few good ideas and create experiments to test validity.
  • What does an innovative organization look like?
    • All of this change requires an organization that is nimble, adaptive, with borders that are connected to other organizations. This requires a view of the organization as a living interconnected system like the human body.
    • Those who study cell biology know that  most activity is at the cell membrane, where the fluidity and interaction with the rest of the human body guide the activities of the individual cells in concert with the larger matrix of the whole body.
    • No longer can the eye say to the foot: “I don’t need you” or the finger say: I am not needed.” It is a necessity that we begin to think about our firm’s individual capabilities being imbedded in a larger environment or organizations that make up the whole marketplace.

Have Something to Say?
Already have an account? Log in.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *