Michael J. Arena

Most organizations don’t suffer from a deficit of ideas or human potential. What they lack is open and deliberate connections. Organizational leaders must learn to encourage the flow of these ideas by attending to the social interactions in the company. They need to build relational structures that encourage the 4D connections of adaptive space: discovery, development, diffusion, and disruption. Together, these 4D connections generate the … [ Read more ]

How to build a unicorn: Lessons from venture capitalists and start-ups

New data highlights five things incumbent businesses could learn from venture capitalists and unicorns.

Pat Connolly

When a company is organized around traditional silos versus customer needs, the products and services they make will reflect the structure and needs of the company, not the customer.

Gagan Biyani

Product creators like to think of what’s possible: They dream about how introducing their product into the market might change the world. This is an appropriate framing — as long as it comes with a bit of humble pie. New products don’t succeed because of the wide breadth of features they provide. Facebook isn’t successful because it allows people to build groups, host events or … [ Read more ]

Jane Davis

When you’re adding new features, the question shouldn’t be, “Is this potentially useful to someone?” Instead ask, “How does this contribute to our users achieving their goals?” It’s very easy to “value add” your way straight out of product/market fit.

John Doerr

If the best way to predict the future is to invent it, the second-best way is to finance it.

Ryan Glasgow

There’s typically about eight different steps in the customer jobs flow of someone starting and completing an action. You can really apply that framework to any product that you’re working on and look at the steps that you’re solving today. Look at the steps that you’re currently not solving and think about how you can solve other jobs that are ancillary to your core product. … [ Read more ]

Ryan Glasgow

You can’t rely on your customers to figure out what to build. They can really only tell you what outcomes they’re looking to achieve.

Martin Reeves, Jack Fuller

Companies often focus on executing one business model, and its associated targets and metrics become the main ways of judging success. But the dominance of such metrics can come at the expense of seeing possibilities and dabbling with new models. When there is a standard, clear way to measure and reward success, efforts in any other direction can look like failures or a waste of … [ Read more ]

Martin Reeves, Jack Fuller

Three types of surprise inspire imagination: anomalies (aspects in our information flow that are out of the ordinary); analogies (similarities we notice between concepts or experiences, which lead us to imagine new possibilities); and accidents (unexpected actions and consequences that draw our attention to something interesting).

Howard Morgan

If you can’t think out of the box, make the box bigger. Start by relaxing constraints.

How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation

A recent BCG study suggests that increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance. In both developing and developed economies, companies with above-average diversity on their leadership teams report a greater payoff from innovation and higher EBIT margins. Even more persuasive, companies can start generating gains with relatively small changes in the makeup of their senior teams. … [ Read more ]

Christoph Zott, Raphael Amit

When presenting BMI internally, be conscious of how you do it. When framed as a threat, people tend to get more rigid, which restricts information, narrows attention and reduces channels, resulting in inertia. When framed as an opportunity, people react more positively under the expectation of gain, which motivates change and promotes innovation. Opportunity and threat perceptions act as important cognitive antecedents to business model … [ Read more ]

Adam Grant

Adam Grant agrees that brainwriting is best, pointing to evidence that groups generate fewer and worse ideas while brainstorming than when the very same people are working on their own.

“If you know the group is nervous about ego issues or status hierarchies you should collect the ideas anonymously. It’s about leveraging the power of the group for idea selection, where people are actually better collectively, … [ Read more ]

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.


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.


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 ]