When Pitching an Idea, Should You Focus on “Why” or “How”?

There are two camps on the most effective way to frame an innovative idea. One contends you should emphasize why the idea is desirable. The other says you should focus on how to implement the idea. Which one is right? A research project found that the answer depends on your audience. If you’re making a pitch to novices, focus on why. If you’re making it … [ Read more ]

Jeff Lawson

You’ve got to send people out in different boats to explore new ideas, but when you see the signs of success, make sure you’ve got the ability to double down in real-time on the winning boat.

Unknown

Innovation springs from many sources…
Necessity: the mother of invention.
Experience: the wisdom to recognize what must be changed.
Inexperience: the fearlessness to follow instincts.
Intelligence: the wits to make things happen.
Drive: the need to do it first and to do it best.
Persistence: the strength to see it through.

Kevin Ashton, Shane Parrish

People who are more creative also tend to be more playful, unconventional, and unpredictable, and all of this makes them harder to control. No matter how much we say we value creation, deep down, most of us value control more. And so we fear change and favor familiarity. Rejecting is a reflex.

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When the same tests are applied to decision-makers and authority figures in business, … [ Read more ]

Competing on Imagination

As business environments become more changeable and long-term growth rates decline, companies increasingly need to innovate—across their operations, offerings, and business models. We know the powerful effects of innovation, but what is upstream of innovation? How can we understand and shape the murky mental territory that leads to good ideas: the realm of imagination?

Sam Altman

You should trade being short-term low-status for being long-term high-status, which most people seem unwilling to do. A common way this happens is by eventually being right about an important but deeply non-consensus bet. But there are lots of other ways–the key observation is that as long as you are right, being misunderstood by most people is a strength not a weakness. You and a … [ Read more ]

3 Ways You Can Spark Innovation in Your Company

Despite all the talk from leaders about innovation and investment in developing new products and services or new lines of business, growth remains elusive.

A big part of the growth problem is most corporate innovation initiatives, siloed in R&D divisions and idea labs or corporate accelerators, never reach customers. These initiatives are very good at generating ideas but weak in commercialization.

Why? Because companies are too … [ Read more ]

Dave Girouard

Too many people believe that speed is the enemy of quality. To an extent they’re right — you can’t force innovation and sometimes genius needs time and freedom to bloom. But in my experience, that’s the rare case. There’s not always a stark tradeoff between something done fast and done well. Don’t let you or your organization use that as a false shield or excuse … [ Read more ]

Reed Hastings

Controlling innovation is an oxymoron. You inspire innovation. You support innovation. Unlike the quality process, where the goal is to reduce variability, innovations require you to look for ways to increase variability. And business model innovation is scary because it is the toughest to take on.

Daniel Cohen, Brian Quinn, Erik Roth

High failure rates, in our experience, are often correlated with inattention to assumptions, which underlie all innovation initiatives. Companies often confuse assertions with assumptions, stating confidently what “should be true” for an innovation concept (for example, the price premium that customers will pay) instead of acknowledging that it is merely a strong hypothesis that needs to be validated. We therefore encourage management teams to place … [ Read more ]

Buckminister Fuller

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Four Steps to Business Model Innovation

Success in this new era of accelerated disruption requires a holistic approach to technology.

Shane Parrish

Genius is always recognized in hindsight, with the benefit of positive results in mind. We “cherrypick” the good results of divergent thinkers, but forget that we use the results to decide who’s a genius and who isn’t. Thus, tolerating divergent, genius-level thinking requires an ability to tolerate failure, loss, and change if it’s to be applied prospectively.

Paul Graham

The paths that lead to new ideas tend to look unpromising. If they looked promising, other people would already have explored them. How do the people who do great work discover these paths that others overlook? The popular story is that they simply have better vision: because they’re so talented, they see paths that others miss. But if you look at the way great discoveries … [ Read more ]

The Innovator’s Secret Weapon

Talk all you want about strategy and operational efficiency—the truth is, firms succeed because they offer something irresistible.

Erik Roth

We’ve done a lot of research around what really makes for a high-performance innovation team. What we’ve found is that, if you go to Silicon Valley or Berlin or Singapore or Israel and look for the entrepreneurs—individual founders—they overweight slightly on the vision and the collaborations and underweight slightly on the execution and learning. But again, it depends on the individual.

But in a corporate environment, … [ Read more ]

Erik Roth

One of the questions we often get asked is, “How do I get the best innovation talent into my organization?” It’s an interesting question because of course we all want to find the most talented individuals and the most high-performing individuals to drive some of our most important endeavors.

But as we look at innovation, what we’re finding is there just aren’t that many people who … [ Read more ]

The Innovation Commitment

To catalyze breakthrough growth, leaders must set bold aspirations, make tough choices, and mobilize resources at scale.

Anne Dwane

Consider comedians. Comedians don’t live in a different world [than] everyone else; they just see the humor in it. Likewise, entrepreneurs see opportunity where the majority sees mature, intractable markets. Entrepreneurial epiphanies come from a beginners mind, not a jaded one.