The Minimum Viable Innovation Engine

Amazon's competitive advantage is its Innovation Engine.  As an organization, it has learned how to organize itself and to fund smarter and faster innovation processes to get to market faster than...well...just about anyone next to Google and Facebook. Amazon Prime took only 2 months from inception to launch.  That happened because the innovation engine was …

The Future of Innovation is FEWER IDEAS, Not More

In 1997, Stephens and Burley found through their research that, in most industries, it takes 3,000 initial, undeveloped ideas to produce a single successful commercial product.  Other research determined that in the pharmaceutical industry it can be as many as 6,000.  The Universal Success Curve thus launched the notion that innovation is a numbers game. …

Down But Not Out: Disappointing Prototypes Need a Standing 8 Count

Sometimes innovation leaders need to play a role similar to that of a referee in a boxing match and give projects a standing eight count when everyone else wants a TKO. A standing eight count, also known as a protection count, is a boxing judgment call made by a referee during a bout. When invoked, the referee stops the action and counts …

Is An Innovation Process Really Necessary? 2 Perspectives…

Startup Perspective from Jeff Hilimire Jeff  has founded four companies - Spunlogic, Engauge, Dragon Army, and 48in48. He writes about his experiences at jeffhilimire.com.  Jeff's perspective on the necessity of an innovation process is: Every company needs to be focused on innovation. Whether you're a technology-based company or you're in the least innovative field around...what would …

There is no such thing as “Disruptive Innovation”

We can't predict whether any innovation we launch will be disruptive, any more than we can determine in advance a video we post online will go viral.  So why do many of us continue to talk about it as if we can design disruption into an idea?  Here's a good example of the misuse of …

Do Innovative Companies Really Out Perform Non-Innovative Companies?

This graph from recode indicates that Amazon is worth TWO Walmarts!  That's the power innovative companies have over non-innovative ones.  But wait, Walmart was innovative at one point.  It changed the entire retail landscape, swallowing up mom & pops that couldn't compete with its massive scale and buying advantages. What happened? It stopped innovating.  The …

The Problem with “A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”

This quote from Charles Kettering has been hacked by almost every consultant and project leader there is.  While it may be timeless, this quote has to do with decision making, not innovation, and could actually do innovation more harm than good. Stating a problem well doesn’t guarantee the problem is fully understood, or that it is even the right …

4 Types of Innovation Thinkers

The innovation process often starts the same way every time.  A team of people from the same department, probably the same sub-team within a department, has an idea and meets to brainstorm some possible ideas that address an opportunity or problem.  Since they are responsible for doing the work, they assume they are the best …

Don’t Let The Future Happen to You

Innovation is sort of like what Steve Jobs thought about meetings.  He believed that you should not let meetings be something that happens TO you.  If you're in a meeting and not adding any value, Steve would say, "Leave!" If you're not adding value, leave. If we're not adding value to a market, should we …

Keep Your Grain Dry: Ideas Post Harvest

How many ideas were spoken in the past but have been forgotten? How many of those ideas would be breakthrough ideas today?

Don’t Kill Me, Go FUN Me Instead

We've all heard "there is no shortage of ideas", but identifying the good ideas and protecting them from idea snipers can be a challenge.  David Burkus provides a terrific example of how one company is overcoming it.  "One possible solution to this “idea killing” problem is to change the structure ideas have to move through. Instead …

CEO Expecting You to Deliver Disruptive Innovation?

What is "Disruptive Innovation"?  Is Uber disruptive?  What did it disrupt?  Taxi services?  Are taxi's a dying breed?  I was recently in NYC and taxi's far outnumber Uber cars.  Yet when we talk about disruption, Uber is one brand that gets more than its share of mentions.  Perhaps it's time to educate leadership and stakeholders …