Seven Attributes of the Most Innovative Cultures

Innovation is culturally agnostic in one sense and highly culture-sensitive in another. While in theory, nothing prevents every country in the world from having its own Silicon Valley (although it would look different from place to place), there are seven cultural “universals” shared by every truly innovative society.

Open Innovation: Collaborating Successfully with Small High-Tech Firms

In the age of big bang disruption, inward-looking growth strategies can be risky. It comes as no surprise then, that there are a large number of companies turning to partnership with small high-tech firms to ensure faster and more effective innovation.

By directly engaging with outsiders – consumers, suppliers, universities and even competitors – large companies have been able to develop highly efficient innovation processes and … [ Read more ]

Hacking Innovation

Hacking does not ascribe a specific intent, and nothing about the skillset itself is right or wrong. In fact, hacking is a tool, an approach. In the same way a knife can be used for evil (to murder) or to heal (a scalpel used to perform a life-saving surgery), hacking can be used to destroy or rebuild. While hacking can clearly be used for wrongdoing, … [ Read more ]

Four Tips to Persuade Others Your Idea Is a Winner

“People just aren’t naturally oriented towards innovation or change,” says Loran Nordgren. “If you were dealing with totally rational agents, you could sell your innovation on the grounds of its functionality—in other words, why it’s a good idea. But you are almost never dealing with totally rational agents.”

Thankfully, if you are convinced that a certain new product, fresh strategy, or overseas expansion is exactly what … [ Read more ]

Adam Grant

There’s an amazing study by Justin Berg, a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor. He looks at circus performances—think Cirque du Soleil—and collects all these original acts done by different kinds of circus artists: jugglers, dancers, acrobats. He asks people to evaluate their own performances, and then he asks managers to evaluate them as well, and then he has performers judge each other’s videos.

Finally, he … [ Read more ]

Hermann Simon

In business management, it is easy to fall victim to the buzzwords or trends of the day when historical understanding and consciousness are lacking. When that happens, authors and thinkers purport to create something new, when they are really only serving old wine in new wineskins. This recalls the comments of the philosopher George Santayana that history will repeat itself for those who do not … [ Read more ]

Bret Taylor

Building a better mousetrap isn’t enough to set you apart. In fact, incumbent competitors have a number of advantages that could kill your startup, including entrenched distribution channels and consumer familiarity. Start to dethrone incumbents by making users a little uncomfortable; to make “better” matter — and users care. In many ways, your quietest, most steadfast competitor is indifference. The bottom line is you have … [ Read more ]

Is Pay for Performance Detrimental to Innovation?

UCLA Anderson Professor Florian Ederer says that compensation packages should leave some room for experimentation and failure.

An Incumbent’s Guide to Digital Disruption

No matter how strong their ingoing balance sheets and market share—and sometimes because of those very factors—incumbents can’t seem to hold back the digital disruption tide. The champions of disruption are far more often the attackers than the established incumbent. The good news for incumbents is that many industries are still in the early days of digital disruption. Print media, travel, and lodging provide valuable … [ Read more ]

Madhavan Ramanujam

When it comes to innovation, there’s only one right way to segment: by customers’ needs, what they value and their WTP [willingness to pay] for a product or service that delivers that value.

Madhavan Ramanujam

The root of all innovation evil is the failure to put the customer’s willingness to pay [WTP] for a new product at the very core of product design. Most companies postpone pricing decisions until after the product is developed. They embark on a long, costly journey of hoping they’ll make money rather than knowing they will. You can ensure your product not only stays alive, … [ Read more ]

Greg Satell

While nimble startups chasing the next trend are exciting, the truth is that companies rarely succeed by adapting to market events. Rather, successful firms prevail by shaping the future. That can’t be done through agility alone, but takes years of preparation to achieve. The truth is that once you find yourself in a position where you need to adapt, it’s usually too late. […] Truly … [ Read more ]

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.

The Smart Way to Open Your Innovation Process

Here’s how to find the ideal external contributors and solutions for your R&D pipeline.

Michael Tushman

The more firms engage in getting today’s work done, it actually reduces the probability of making shifts in innovation and strategy. That is what is so strikingly paradoxical to leaders: The very recipes that work so well for today often get in the way of the future. It’s a challenge to incrementally improve what you’re doing as you’re trying to complement it with something different. … [ Read more ]

Hal Varian

If you want to understand the future, just look at what rich people do today.

Paul Saffo

It takes 30 years for a new idea to seep into the culture. Technology does not drive change. It is our collective response to the options and opportunities presented by technology that drives change.

Travis Kalanick

I like to say the role of the entrepreneur is to understand the difference between perception and reality. Perception is conventional wisdom, it’s what everybody thinks is right, or is the answer. And reality, sometimes it’s the same, but often it’s very different.

I like to say the distance between perception and reality is the innovator’s playground. But if you are going to play in that … [ Read more ]

How Amazon Innovates in Ways that Google and Apple Can’t

Amazon has shown a remarkable ability to succeed in a wide variety of different product categories. That’s a contrast to most other high-profile tech companies that are really good in one area — Google’s dominant online services or Apple’s extraordinarily profitable hardware — but struggle when the quest for growth pushes them outside their zone of core competency. Amazon has figured out how to combine … [ Read more ]

The 30 Things Customers Really Value

Breakthroughs may be worth pursuing, but most companies benefit more from incremental innovation efforts that add new forms of consumer value to their present products and services. The trick is to determine what elements to add in order to boost the perceived value of your offering. You don’t want to expend resources adding features that consumers don’t care about. While what constitutes “value” can be … [ Read more ]