Applying a Social Media Rule to Innovation

I’ve suggested before that there are parallels between social media and innovation. In fact much “open innovation” is simply a subset of social media. In many open innovation programs a group of people submit ideas and rank and comment on the ideas within the community. The organizing feature of the community is often the topic of innovation, rather than other shared beliefs or interests. Today in a meeting I postulated (just wanted to use that word) a new social media rule. I suggested that there are really two interesting types of social media communities – broad and topical (think Twitter) or deep and narrow (think forums or some blogs). Yes, I recognize that this is a simplistic two by two matrix, but what’s interesting is that most social media exists in the two “extremes”. There are probably examples of narrow and topical, but they will …

Posted in Innovation, Social Media | 1 Comment
The CFO and Innovation

Can it work? by Stefan Lindegaard I ask whether CFO’s can make innovation happen, but in reality this should not even be a question of whether it can be done but rather a question of how to do it. The reason for turning this a how-to question is the increasing role of the CFO in many companies. Their influence keeps growing and this includes influence on innovation and in particular on the funding that goes to innovation. The problem is that these executives often have a hard time understanding innovation as this discipline is full of risk and uncertainty, which is somewhat different from their corporate world. I have no clear-cut answers on how to make this work, but let me share some thoughts and hopefully others can join in with more advice. First, I believe you need to better understand the focus of such top executives. Their world is … Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Innovation | 1 Comment
Leadership Defined

What’s your definition of Leadership? In thinking about the comments I’ve received from readers on the topic of leadership I noticed an interesting paradox…while many of you vehemently disagree on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of different leadership styles, most of you are in total agreement on the qualities and attributes possessed by great leaders regardless of style. In further pondering this dichotomy an interesting thought came to mind – If I could genetically engineer the perfect leadership gene what qualities and characteristics would constitute the architecture of leadership DNA? In today’s blog post I’ll attempt to paint the portrait of the perfect leader… So, what traits would my perfect leader possess? Courage, vision, wisdom, integrity, empathy, persistence, compassion, aggressivity, discernment, commitment, confidence, a bias to action, a servant’s heart, creativity, self-discipline, loyalty, confidence, outstanding decisioning ability, a great strategic thinker, passion, a positive attitude, intelligence, humility, great communication skills, … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership, Management | 2 Comments
Is the Age of Indovation and Chinovation Becoming Real?

What are the threats to established global companies? by Idris Mootee ‘The age of ‘Indovation’ dawns’ – this headline from Financial Times caught my attention while I was sitting on a plane flying out of New Jersey. It is an interesting article about Armin Bruck, managing director of Siemens in India, trying to convince the board of the Siemens of the potential of Indian innovation. He gave them the keys to a Tata Nano to convey the “smell and feel” of a revolutionary mass market product and to persuade his company that it should improve its pipeline of local inventions aimed at Indian consumers. So, in February, Peter Löscher, the company’s chief executive, and his colleagues Heinrich Heisinger and Joe Kaeser piled into the world’s cheapest car – priced at $2,000 – and drove round New Delhi. I think the same can be said about ‘Chinovation’. Innovation from emerging economies … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation | 4 Comments
Fostering Creativity with Structure

Creativity in the form of fresh ideas, whether from executives, salespeople or customers, is an invaluable resource to any organization. But these ideas need guidance and structure in order to achieve the key goal of innovation – profitable growth. To successfully channel ideas into a profitable result, it is necessary to establish a formalized new product development (NPD) process, from concept to launch. The new product development process is often referred to as The Stage-Gate innovation process, developed by Dr. Robert G. Cooper as a result of comprehensive research on reasons why products succeed and why they fail. It’s a system of best practices for organizing a new product development team once ideas land in the organization’s “idea hopper”and passes the hurdles and criteria to go to the concept stage. The Stage-Gate innovation process has two key elements. Stage. The “stage” refers to the critical activities that need to take … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Innovation | Leave a comment
Innovating at Scale in a Successful Company

Large successful organizations have a hard time creating large scale innovations. When a company’s on the brink of death, they entertain many radical alternatives, but economic health is the enemy of change — which is one of Microsoft’s great problems. Ray Ozzie, now the Chief Software Architect of Microsoft, was at Lotus development when they dominated PC software. According to my friend and Diamond Fellow, David Reed, Lotus was making a lot of money and investing in R&D, but Ozzie wanted to build his own start-up. Because Ozzie had delivered Symphony, an updated version of the 1-2-3 software, Mitch Kapor agreed to help Ozzie find the funding. By late 1984 Ozzie founded Iris corporation, backed by Lotus, because he was convinced that groupware would transform business. There were a number of interesting features of the deal. First, Lotus agreed to fund Iris’s development efforts as long as …

Posted in Innovation, Strategy | 2 Comments
Creativity Starts with Copying

What do these two paintings have in common? While Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) is world-famous, The First Communion, painted 12 years earlier, would only be recognized by experts or serious connoisseurs. Well, both are Picasso’s! What does this tell us? Firstly, that even the most innovative geniuses need their formative years: one does not revolutionize painting without having learned painting in the first place. And copying is a large part of what it takes to learn. Even a child prodigy such as Picasso first had to learn his art by painting (at the age of 15!) The first communion in a very 19th-century-style mix of classicism and realism. Only a decade later, Picasso’s work had become truly revolutionary. Yet, some form of copying is at the root of Picasso’s creativity, as Les demoiselles d’Avignon appear to be seriously influenced by Cezanne’s use of space and by African art. There is … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Innovation | 3 Comments