Author Archives: Greg Satell

A 270 Year Old Mathematical Formula Can Teach Us A Lot About Innovation

Accountants tell us that numbers don’t lie, because for them numbers are the same as facts. Mathematicians see it differently though. They see numbers as abstract representations of reality that, when combined with other numbers, have an almost mystical ability to create patterns that unlock hidden truths. In other words, as the great early 20th century numbers theorist G. H. ...

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The 70-20-10 Rule for Innovation

One of the things I always get asked about from the companies I work with is how to manage their innovation resources. Should they bet big on an unproven, but possibly breakthrough idea? Or focus on improving the products that they already know their customers want? Or maybe leveraging existing resources into a new market? This is an important question. ...

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Four (4) Skills That All Great Innovators Share

I spent the majority of my adult life managing organizations and I always felt enormous pressure to innovate, but whenever I went looking for guidance, what I found was a confused jumble. Disruptive innovation, design thinking, open innovation, lean launchpads and on and on. Unlike marketing or finance, there wasn’t any one clear framework. So I spent nearly a decade ...

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We Need To Focus More On Networks And Less On Nodes

In the mid-1980s, a Robert Kelley of Carnegie Mellon University began to research why some engineers at Bell Labs performed so much better than others. Initially, what he found didn’t make much sense, By any conventional analysis, the outperforming engineers were nothing special. They seemed just like anyone else. Yet when he looked at their networks, he began to understand ...

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When Corporations Fund Startups, Both Can Win

How to Protect Breakthrough Innovation

Ever since the Netscape IPO in 1995, venture capital has taken on an almost mystical quality. The idea of investors in khakis backing a few kids in a garage to rival the world’s largest corporations has far more romantic appeal than fat-cat bankers chomping away at cigars in stuffy boardrooms. Before long, corporate America wanted in on the action, with ...

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The Next Great Transformation Will Be from Bits to Atoms

When engineers from Xerox PARC showed off their revolutionary new personal computer, the Alto, at the company’s global conference in 1977, senior executives weren’t particularly impressed. It just didn’t seem to be relevant to their jobs or their business. Their wives, however, were transfixed. The reason for the disparity was that the executives saw a tool to automate secretarial work, ...

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Data Bias Is Becoming A Massive Problem

Nobody sets out to be biased, but it’s harder to avoid than you would think. Wikipedia lists over 100 documented biases from authority bias and confirmation bias to the Semmelweis effect, we have an enormous tendency to let things other than the facts to affect our judgments. We all, as much as we hate to admit it, are vulnerable. Machines, ...

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