The Innovation Race

The Innovation RaceThe innovation race will be won by a team of all talents.

At the Beijing Olympics, the 4 x 100m relay was won by the Russian team in 42 seconds – apologies for not being much interested in the tenths and hundredths – while the 400m was won by Christine Ohuruogu in a time of 49 seconds. At the risk of stating the obvious, the same distance is covered a lot faster by a relay team than by a single individual, however talented.

Bearing in mind that innovation is not simply about generating new ideas but observing users, developing concepts, prototyping, up-scaling, marketing and creating value, the innovation race will be run faster by a team than by a single individual. And since each stage is of a different nature, each will be best run by individuals with the most appropriate skills for that stage. At the end of the day, the innovation race will be won, not by the lone genius, but by a team of all talents.

If we accept the above proposition as true, then its contraposition is equally true: whatever your talent, you can take part in the innovation endeavor.  If your talent is, say, logistics, you can take part in the innovation endeavor. Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook has been for years the operational driving force behind the success of Apple. He would be the first to admit that he is no creative genius; but nobody could say that his talent was not instrumental in Apple’s resounding success.

All that is required to take part in the innovation endeavor is to know your talent, team-up with people who bring complementary skills, and go for it.

image credit: teamusa

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Yann CramerYann Cramer is an innovation learner, practitioner, sharer, teacher. He’s lived in France, Belgium and the UK, he’s travelled six continents to create development opportunities with customers or suppliers, and run workshops on R&D and Marketing. He writes on and on twitter @innovToday.

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3 Responses to The Innovation Race

  1. Pingback: NCN Articles of Interest 11/11/11 « National Creativity Network

  2. Sam Pakenham-Walsh says:

    More & more evidence suggests that teams, not individuals, are the stuff of “genius”: Keith Sawyer’s “Group Genius” goes into the subject at some length. Perhaps the most egregious example was Shakespeare. A lecture on who wrote Shakespeare’s plays at a New York City A.B.A. meeting in 1965 convinced me that “Shakespeare” was first a group & later became a brand-name.
    Consider the data… Vocabulary:- Adequate: 400 wds. Typical: 1500 wds. Churchill: 5,000 wds. “SHAKESPEARE”: OVER 12,000 WORDS. Society: Theatre in Elizabethan England was peopled by riff-raff; ANYONE SHOWING INTEREST IN IT WOULD BE THROWN OUT OF THE QUEEN’S COURT. The Man: Shakespeare was a burgher in Stratford-on-Avon, a major shareholder in the Globe theatre, Blackfriars, & he had a flair for producing plays: THE PERFECT COVER FOR PLAYWRIGHTS TO HIDE BEHIND. The Tomb: SHAKESPEARE’S TOMB NEVER CONTAINED A CORPSE. The Brand-Name: “The Tempest” was Shakespeare’s last play; IT WAS PRODUCED THREE YEARS AFTER SHAKESPEARE HAD DIED.
    Consider the times: troupes of actors worked as a team, staging plays in courtyards, seldom in theatres; THEY OFTEN MADE UP THE WORDS AS THEY WENT.
    This is not to say Shakespeare didn’t have a hand in every play, bar “The Tempest”: to be sure, he did. What’s more, he re-wrote much of the text. Shakespeare’s role today is performed in movies: he was the screenwriter -

  3. Pingback: Innovation Excellence | Success Factors for the Innovation Team

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