This past week I got sucked into what I thought was a pretty weak online debate. The question posed was, "Is Incremental innovation the enemy of Breakthrough Innovation?"
Topics: Mark Sebell, Innovation, Innovation, innovation consulting, breakthrough innovation, Championed Teamwork, leadership, leadership, strategic innovation, strategy, growth, Strategic Goals, criteria for innovation, decision-making, breakthrough, new product development, Essentials for Innovation, Risk, Management
One is good, two is better.
As I write this, I have “It’s a small world” doing laps in my head. In our world of innovation consulting, I am constantly struck by the relevance of seemingly irrelevant things to our clients, even from one client to another. Whether operating in different industries, on dramatically different scales – e.g. producing 250 pieces per year versus 250 million – it seems everyone has something to offer everyone. For example, on a recent “Immersion” – a visit to a client’s customer site – a company that creates massive valves for pipelines (I mean massive, like feet and feet across) and does so on a very small scale was able to give our client, a sensor company producing tiny little sensors in the millions, 6 or 7 compelling ways sensors could apply in their space(s). The two companies, as different as can be, are now working on combining forces, even sharing manufacturing insights! Absolutely incredible. Thus, my theory that everyone has something they can offer to anyone and everyone. The takeaway: don’t discredit anything because at first glance it seems irrelevant. Have faith in the power of the absurd (Einstein said, “If at first an idea does not seem completely absurd then there’s no hope for it”) and play with that creative fodder. More often than not a creative idea is not an idea that is completely new to the world, rather an idea that applies something that already exists in a new way. So, relieve that creative pressure, the performance anxiety, and you will find new things in unexpected places, and you’ll be on your way to achieving truly breakthrough innovation!