9 Critical Success FactorsFor creating value-achieving innovation
Dynamic Innovation - An Operational ModelFor developing a fuzzy front-end resource Breaking Down the SilosTo maximize your organization's innovation engine
By Jay Terwilliger
We are often asked if the best way to structure for innovation is top-down or bottom-up? The answer is both if you are going to succeed in the long run.
When executives create teams to pursue breakthrough innovation they typically push the work down to the operating levels, just like they do so successfully with their core businesses. That sounds eminently laudable – after all, they’re “empowering” a group of hands-on people. They think they are too busy to deal with innovation but there’s another reason for taking that approach: Leaders don’t want to get involved in big innovation. They are afraid of it because they haven’t experienced it or been schooled in managing it; and bosses don’t like being visibly vulnerable.
At this early stage, do your ideas pass this SNIFF test? The answer is likely very different than if you use traditional metrics. And even these criteria should be used to evaluate the whole picture, not just as a "yea/nay". A few informative dimensions will help you look objectively at the concepts from both a 'business' and 'gut' point of view, so that you can make more holistic decisions.The Educated GutWhat if you were able to harness the collective experience of your organization, to get at what they really believe about an idea vs. what they can absolutely justify? And what if that was valued in your organization? Your people have boatloads of experiences and knowledge from inside and outside of your industry that inform their sense of value. This goes beyond 'the numbers' and taps into the vast pool of the unconscious (that large percent of our brains that we don't actively use and gets pounded into silence in pursuit of The Right Answer). Here are some ways to tap into it:
In the last few years, the user experience has come increasingly to the forefront of innovation and design thinking. Colloquially known as UX design, considering how the consumer interacts with a product or brand is a way of meeting tough to articulate needs beyond pure functionality.
Bill Belichick is widely regarded as a football genius, contrarian, and grump. He is also an innovator. All of the X's and O's of design thinking can be found under the hoodie.
This is not a revolutionary list – there are a number of these lists out there, and within the collection there is both clear overlap as well as room for customization. In talking through these I hope to get people’s reactions as to what really is necessary to achieve breakthrough innovation, and in so doing I hope to get a sense of what the industry standards are and where the differentiation tends to lie.
What is the state of creativity today? Is creative thinking following the roller coaster ride of the economy (with lots of stomach-churning drops)? Or, is creativity going the way of gold, holding steady in spite of the tumultuous times?
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