Andrew Hargadon

The pursuit of innovation doesn’t depend on genius. Instead, it demands ingenuity — the ability to come up with solutions that are original and clever given the constraints that you and everyone else face.

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The penicillin story makes clear that the need to come up with a new and brilliant idea is often overrated. The ideas are out there, and people can see them. They just … [ Read more ]

Data From 3.5 Million Employees Shows How Innovation Really Works

Innovation, like marketing and sales, is a pipeline. In one end go raw concepts and notions. Out the other end come actionable ideas that can move the business forward. With the right technology, could you manage this pipeline the way you manage a sales pipeline?

Our research shows that you can.

One of us, Dylan, has analyzed five years of data from 154 public companies covering over … [ Read more ]

What Your Innovation Process Should Look Like

Companies and government agencies often make the mistake of viewing innovation as a set of unconstrained activities with no discipline. In reality, for innovation to contribute to a company or government agency, it needs to be designed as a process from start to deployment.

When organizations lack a formal innovation pipeline process, project approvals tend to be based on who has the best demo or slides, … [ Read more ]

How to Regulate Innovation — Without Killing It

Digital innovation is giving rise to new business models. Uber and Airbnb are household names today, when not so long ago we were all learning about the sharing economy. The regulations don’t always evolve as quickly as technological change — at least that’s the perception. So what should policy makers and regulators do? Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach recently shared his … [ Read more ]

Diagnosing Dislocation

New products and services can enter your market from other directions, each distinct in terms of how, where, and when it affects your business. These are market dislocations — radical breakaways from the existing market that occur when a company introduces a business model or a product that sits apart from those of competitors.

Clearly, not all upstart threats are alike — and misdiagnosing your new … [ Read more ]

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 ]

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

What I notice when I work with […] companies applying those [Six Sigma, TRIZ, 5 Whys, root cause analysis] was those tools tend to make you dig deeper into the first understanding of the problem we have. […] That they kind of get caught by the details. That, in a way, is a bad way to work on problems because it really assumes that there’s … [ Read more ]

Ken Favaro, Cass R. Sunstein, Reid Hastie

Because innovation in a group relies on the ability to make new connections among the diverse experiences of its members, leaders must create a climate in which individuals can free-associate and use both their total life experience and that of their fellow group members. The group’s leaders should set the tone by being inquisitive and self-silencing to let other information rise. They should continually prime … [ Read more ]

Caitlin Kalinowski

Make seriously ugly prototypes. No really, your early iterations should be hideous. You don’t need to worry about how it looks yet. But there’s also a hidden benefit. When something is ugly, people don’t fall in love with it. Especially with influential people inside a company, if you show them something that’s physical and they see it, they will lock on it. This actually also … [ Read more ]

Why Do So Many Corporate VCs Die Young?

Specific staffing choices and high investment levels can prolong the lifespan of corporate venture capital units.

Margaret Wheatley

The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.

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.

In Search of Ingenuity

The quiet heroes of innovation do the little things that bring big ideas to life.

Editor’s Note: this article also tells the interesting story of the development of penicillin.

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 ]