The Innovation Blog

What Makes Us Different?

Posted by Creative Realities on December 16, 2010

We are often asked what makes us different from other innovation consulting firms.  Here are a few of the things we say.

We Understand that Creativity is NOT Innovation

Innovation is a function of three variables: (Strategy) + (Creativity) + (Execution), because a great idea is still just a great idea until you make it real.

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We Herd Cats and Manage Management

The #1 reason why innovation fails is misalignment on its assumptions, goals and expected deliverables. There are three decision-influencing constituencies in any organization when it comes to innovation, and they each have different motivations: Project Management (execution), Operating Management (growth & profit), and Executive Management (vision & strategy). Therefore (and not surprisingly), they tend to speak different languages, which makes for difficult decision-making on something as “fuzzy” and elusive as innovation. We know how to get everyone aligned behind and executing on one Strategic Innovation Agenda. It’s all about effective collaboration, which is one of the reasons why our clients call us the Innovation Management Collaborative. And who teaches, coaches, and advises executive management on how to sponsor, allocate resources and provide air cover for the big ideas they aren’t getting? We do!

We Know What It Really Means To Create an Innovative Culture

Transforming any corporate culture into a more innovative one is the Holy Grail. But most companies don’t really have the stomach for it. It starts by succeeding at a really big innovation challenge. Only then will the organization want to embrace the skills, tools, and change that will takes years to become truly, sustainably innovative.

We Teach Clients How To “Steal”

Almost 30% of innovation comes from “stealing;” learning how things are done in non-competing industries, academia, government, etc., and adapting it to the worlds of our clients’ industries.

We Help Clients Break Down “Silos” and Play with Thought Leaders and “Wildcards”

There are two kinds of collaboration: Internal & external. The first thing we always hear with new clients is how they are organizations of silos (one client recently said “Fortresses”). As the Innovation Management Collaborative we first create unusually diverse, cross-functional, pan-divisional, multi-leveled, internal project teams. Then we periodically surround them with topic experts (thought leaders) and hand picked “WildCards,” who are wonderfully wacky, irreverent, unconventionally creative thinkers who force everyone to stretch when “out-of-the-box” thinking is really needed.

We Take a Counter-Intuitive Approach to Envisioning the Future

To be truly breakthrough, game-changing innovators companies must first create a proprietary vision of what the world (not their industries) will look like 10-15 years out, to drive and inspire their strategic Innovation Agenda. Usually this is done deductively, by creating a picture of the future based upon the past. When it comes to innovation it doesn’t work. We use an inductive model called “Future Pull,” where clients first envision a future where discontinuity might make their companies obsolete. We then guide them toward an understanding of where change will really need to happen and what investments in the future will need to be made now in order to insure future relevance and growth.

Topics: Innovative Culture, WildCards, Future Pull, Thought Leaders, Innovation, humorous bazooka, Management