The 4 Types of Innovation and the Problems They Solve

We need to start treating innovation like other business disciplines — as a set of tools that are designed to accomplish specific objectives. Just as we wouldn’t rely on a single marketing tactic or a single source of financing for the entire life of an organization, we need to build up a portfolio of innovation strategies designed for specific tasks.

It was with this in mind … [ 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 ]

Greg Satell

For functional purposes, networks have two salient characteristics: clustering and path length. Clustering refers to the degree to which a network is made up of tightly knit groups while path lengths is a measure of distance—the average number of links separating any two nodes in the network.

We often hear about the need to “break down silos” to create a networked organization, but this too … [ Read more ]

Greg Satell

The first person to think seriously about how businesses function was Ronald Coase. In his groundbreaking 1937 paper he argued that firms gained competitiveness by reducing transaction costs, especially those related to information. In his view, firms could grow until the point that organizational costs cancelled out transactional benefits.

In the 1980s, Michael Porter built on this idea and made it more possible for … [ Read more ]

Before You Innovate, Ask the Right Questions

Defining a managerial approach to innovation starts with developing a better understanding of the problem we need to solve. I’ve found asking two basic questions can be enormously helpful.

How well is the problem defined?
Who is best-placed to solve it?