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The Innovation Blog

Lin-sanity, Innovation and The Educated Gut

Posted by David Culton on March 7, 2012

Though I'm not a Knicks fan, I must admit that I've been caught up in "Lin-sanity": the meteoric (and still very early) rise of Jeremy Lin, an unheralded, journeyman bench player who several weeks ago was on the verge of another cut but has put together the most impressive start for a player's first 5 games in the past 40 years. Better than Bird, Jordan or Lebron. Who could have guessed?

Finding the stars in your portfolio of ideas is a little like finding an NBA player -- some are fast-tracked for stardom and shine (or don't), and it's the 'scouts' (product managers, marketers, R&D folks) job to sniff out the good and great ones. Some ideas are like Jeremy Lin was -- they have the potential, but fall through the cracks, maybe not even making it to the 'bench'. What if you could find those diamonds in the rough, just one or two, that reside in your organization? What value would that bring to your organization? To your customers?

So how do you do that? One way is to revisit your old ideas with new eyes, but lets stick with our athletic analogy for the moment. As in sports, the larger business world has a variety of metrics (definitive market potential, ROI after x years, etc.) that are used to pick the strong ideas. With breakthrough ideas -- ones that bring something truly new to the game -- these types of metrics are often what we call "imaginary numbers", because breakthrough innovation by definition means there is nothing to compare it to; it has no frame of reference. Then what do you rely on? To me there are two major tools: a process that nurtures rather than kills new ideas and something that we call The Educated Gut.

Criteria vs. Metrics
We once worked with a client who had historically required the Net Present Value of an idea immediately following ideation. Truly new ideas wither and die rather quickly in this environment. Instead, rate beginning ideas on a few (4-5) criteria, and use that in concert with an evaluation model that preserves what's good about an idea, while clearly identifying flaws (and they've all got them) in a way that encourages problem solving. We call this an Open-Minded Evaluation. Some of the criteria we find are the most powerful are:

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Topics: open-minded evaluation, David Culton, Educated Gut, Innovation criteria, new product development

Insights from the PDMA's 2011 Business Model Innovation Lab

Posted by Creative Realities on November 4, 2011

Business Model Innovation is becoming a hot topic these days as business leaders increasingly recognize that disruptive innovation requires not only innovative products, but also fundamentally new business models.  Recognizing this trend, the Product Development Manager's Association (PDMA) featured a full day Business Model Innovation Lab at their 2011 Annual Global conference.  I had the pleasure of co-chairing the lab along with Matt Benson, Advanced Innovation Manager at Faurecia.  Our panel of speakers consisted of Josh Suskewicz of Innosight; John Lynch, Head of Innovation at EMD Millipore; Philip De Ridder, Co-founder of Board of Innovation; and Creative Realities President Jay Terwilliger.  We were also joined by an experienced and thoughtful group of participants, which made for an engaging and stimulating session.  Here are a few of my key takeaways and some business model innovation tools that you may find useful.

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Topics: Chris Dolan, business model mapping, Business Model, breakthrough innovation, new product development, disruptive innovation

HBR Blog: Today's Innovation Can Rise from Yesterday's Failure

Posted by Creative Realities on March 29, 2011

In this HBR Blog, created by Jay F. Terwilliger with partner Mark H. Sebell and Vijay Govindarajan, this simple framework is used to determine the success of an innovative effort. It takes corporate will, a marketplace, and strategic competencies to succeed. In other words, successful innovation requires motive, means, and opportunity. Innovation efforts fail anytime they fail to deliver on all three of these domains strongly enough.

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Topics: Mark Sebell, Jay Terwilliger, Vijay Govindarajan, Learning From Failure, Innovation, Innovation, Cross Functional Teams, Pursuit of Ideas, strategic innovation, growth, new product development

The Hipstamatic Debate: Can Innovation Eclipse "The Real Thing"?

Posted by Creative Realities on February 22, 2011

Last week, the controversy over the popular iPhone Hipstamatic app sparked once again as the feature story in Lens, The New York Times photojournalism blog. For those of you unfamiliar with the app, the Hipstamatic produces highly processed shots with color filters and vignette framing that simulates vintage photography. The images are dreamy and while the iPhoneographer (note: this term actually exists) has a degree of control over the style of the shot, no two pictures turn out exactly alike. The debate over the validity of a smartphone camera app started November 22, 2010 when the following paper hit the newsstands.

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Topics: creativity, Lorie Lin, Innovation, new product development, Incremental Innovation, Transformational Innovation

Incremental vs. Game-Changing Innovation

Posted by Creative Realities on November 7, 2010

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?"

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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

Innovation versus Incrementalization

Posted by Creative Realities on October 6, 2010

One is good, two is better.

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Topics: Clay Maxwell, Innovation, innovation consulting, breakthrough, new product development