Should innovation be spelled with two v’s instead of one?
With so many words starting with the letter v being so central to innovation and rolling up into two even more powerful v words, maybe we should spell it innovvation to help organizations remember to focus on the two keys to successful innovation:
The Importance of Value to Innovation
The first v in innovvation is value. Value is such an important v that you will hear me say often that Innovation is All About Value and is composed of three elements:
- Value Creation is pretty self-explanatory. Your innovation investment must create incremental or completely new value large enough to overcome the switching costs of moving to your new solution from the old solution (including the ‘Do Nothing Solution’). New value can be created by making something more efficient, more effective, possible that wasn’t possible before, or create new psychological or emotional benefits.
- Value Access could also be thought of as friction reduction. How easy do you make it for customers and consumers to access the value you’ve created. How well has the product or service been designed to allow people to access the value easily? How easy is it for the solution to be created? How easy is it for people to do business with you?
- Value Translation is all about helping people understand the value you’ve created and how it fits into their lives. Value translation is also about understanding where on a continuum between the need for explanation and education that your solution falls. Incremental innovations can usually just be explained to people because they anchor to something they already understand, but radical or disruptive innovations inevitably require some level of education (often far in advance of the launch).
All of the details of what each of these three keys to innovation success are reside in my previous article Innovation is All About Value. It’s well worth the investment of time to read it.
The Importance of Innovation Veracity
A few years ago I wrote about the importance of innovation veracity and how when it comes to innovation, veracity is all that matters. As a quick refresher, let’s look at the definition of the word veracity from our friends over at Merriam-Webster:
1: devotion to the truth : truthfulness
2: power of conveying or perceiving truth
So, veracity is the second v in innovvation. There is probably no better way to spend your innovation time than to spend it identifying the right customer insight and the right way to communicate the solution with customers which you’ve created to serve the insight.
For the three components below that will help you get to veracity, I must give credit to the documentary A Good American (a must see). I will stay away from the politics of the movie so I don’t give away the punchline, and just say that it profiles the work of a group of computer scientists who designed a system to protect American citizens from terrorism at a lower cost and with greater privacy protections than the system that was eventually funded and profiled in a different movie – Snowden.
It’s probably no coincidence that Oliver Stone was involved with both films, but that fact is of course irrelevant to the discussion here. What is important is that the film A Good American contains great monologues by the protagonist that provide insight into the power of meta data.
As an innovation coach what’s important to me so I can help a wide variety of clients, is not the particular context of any particular client, so much as the meta information in a variety of applicable tools and frameworks that I collect or create to serve them. What’s important are the insights that can be applied across all industries and all innovation contexts.
What I’ve been able to extract out of this particular film and into the innovation context, so that I can share them with you, are the protagonist’s view of three components that help you identify signals and drive the transformation of DATA into INTELLIGENCE (or innovation veracity in our context), and they are:
- Volume – in order to derive meaningful conclusions you need a lot of data inputs, in this case, lots of idea fragments (ideas come later)
- Variety – multiple perspectives are necessary to avoid blind spots and increase the potential for connecting idea fragments
- Velocity – volume by itself is not enough, momentum is important too. You have to keep Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire
By focusing on value and veracity in our innovation efforts we will arrive at the most important goal of our innovation pursuits – and yet another v – Victory!
So dig deeply to understand where value comes from in your context, and then keep digging. Only when we truly understand the sources of value in any particular context can we create new sources of value for the value consumers in that context, create the proper means of accessing the value, and translate that value for people in the context and in adjacent contexts that might expand the consumption of the new value.
And strive to also understand the indisputable truths in your context that will enable you to achieve the veracity and the resonance you will need to renew the organization’s permission to exist in your context, fuel your continued success, and ensure your next victory.
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Braden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, builds sustainable innovation cultures, and tools for creating successful change. He is the author of the five-star book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and the creator of a revolutionary new Change Planning Toolkit™. Follow him on Twitter (@innovate) and Linkedin.