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Innovation lessons

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Innovation lessons2007-01-07 00:13
2 comments
by Flemming Funch

InnovationTools asked their readers what important lessons they had learned about innovation in 2006. Answers here. Some samples:
Never forget the power of questions. In a recent interview Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, said “We run the company by questions, not by answers.” Innovative leaders put the emphasis on questioning, not telling. Ask fundamental, challenging questions and encourage others to do the same. For example: “What business are we in? Why do customers buy our services? What is our real added value? Is there a better way to do this?” The style and type of questions matter. Don't ask aggressive, inquisitorial questions, such as: “What went wrong? Why did you screw up?” Instead, ask broad questions, like these: “What lessons can we learn? What are the opportunities for us here?” -- Paul Sloane

Put yourself out of business! If you fall too much in love with your own rhetoric (or haven't changed it too drastically in the past couple of years) you are doomed! Innovation isn't accomplished with one surefire system but with the freshening of your best practices. Put yourself out of business before a competitor or the staleness of your rhetoric gets boring. Look at competitors with pride instead of disdain, look at other categories for freshening processes or stimulus. Challenge the efficacy of your way of thinking, stay confident but poke holes in your most sacred beliefs, at least in the sanctity of your own office. Never stop changing, questioning, re-arranging. Comfort is not for the innovators - there should always be some tension, uneasiness with today's thinking, because tomorrow will be different and so should you. Just so you don't think I sound too preachy, I continue to learn these lessons the hard way by the way and probably will all of my life. -- Marco Marsan

Passion is the linchpin to innovation. "Innovation" is a big fat generic concept in most corporations... like "God" or "life on other planets" or "empowerment." Unless the individuals within a given corporation have a genuine sense of urgency, personal ownership and passion for innovation, nothing significant will happen. Innovation begins within the mind of each person. Corporate initiatives that don't awaken the basic human instinct to innovate within each individual will be doomed. For me, as an "innovation consultant," it has become increasingly clear that the short amount of time I have with my clients needs to be devoted to awakening the passion to innovate. Tools, techniques, theory, data, models and bibliographies are all fine, but it is the passion to innovate that is the key driver of success. No passion, no innovation. Plain and simple. Unfortunately, most organizations squash passion. That's why start ups have a much easier time innovating than Fortune 500 companies. Small companies are more human scale. There is more of a sense of community, more freedom, more experimentation, more fun, and more timely feedback. The best thing any one of us can do when we work with organizations is to hold up a giant mirror and ask our clients what they see. Are they modeling what it means to be innovative? Are they creating the kind of organizational culture that is conducive to innovation? Or are they asking other people to do what they themselves have not done? -- Mitch Ditkoff



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2 comments

8 Jan 2007 @ 22:09 by Paul Sloane @90.193.202.175 : Innovation
Glad you liked the quotes from Innovation Tools. You have an interesting blog. And a nice place to live - Toulouse. Come by my site sometimes please - www.destination-innovation.com

regards
Paul Sloane  



8 Jan 2007 @ 22:30 by ming : Innovation
Hello Paul, thanks for stopping by. I'm jealous, I want to get paid for being a lateral thinking expert too.  


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