Innovation can certainly be an adventure. It requires the courage to face uncertainty, and a willingness to take risks. The outcome is never entirely clear. Yet we must be proactive in our pursuit of it. The path is unknown so we need to be imaginative in how we seek it out. We cannot be sure what [...]
Great innovators are nothing if not imaginative. Imaginative in coming up with new ideas. Imaginative in finding ways to explore and test and implement those ideas. Imaginative in how they observe the world around them and gain awareness. Imaginative in how they make sense of those observations. They do not just invent new possibilities. [...]
When it comes to driving innovation, the single most important consideration is mindset—the mindset of those attempting to achieve innovation, and the mindset of those they encounter. No matter what the innovation challenge may be, it is issue number one and the single greatest factor in determining success or failure. That’s a claim many [...]
When it comes to determining whether something is a successful innovation, there is one absolutely crucial test: Does it create value? That value may come in many forms. Usefulness for the customer, profits for a company, or social good for a nonprofit, but it must be there. Creating value isn’t always enough to produce [...]
If I asked a group of innovation practitioners, “What are some ways to make the odds of achieving successful innovation more favorable?” I suspect I would get answers like: Look for some quick wins that are not too far from existing products, markets and capabilities. Be sure you’ve identified a legitimate unmet customer need. [...]
Iteration is not just about improving products and services and customer intelligence and profitability—as important as those things are. It’s about improving our thinking. What most distinguishes highly successful innovators from those who struggle, is their skill at systematically revising their own mental models—at iterating what’s happening inside their heads.
How good are you at putting yourself into someone else's shoes? When you have an innovative idea, it's your responsibility to enable them to "get it." It's your challenge. And if you don’t have the empathy and the patience to help others see what you see, then you will likely fail to win the support you need...
The ability to see things through your customers’ eyes is definitely not something everyone can do. Some, like Steve Jobs, have been quite good at it. Others, like Netflix, completely missed the mark. How well do you really understand and empathize with your customers? How do you know?
For fishers and innovators, the critical capability isn’t knowing how to fish or having all the answers; it’s knowing how to go about finding the fish and discovering the answers we need. There are a number of important lessons about innovation that can be taken from fishing. Continuing my last post...
Permit me to draw an analogy between fishing and innovation, one that I think provides some important insights. We’ve all heard the old saw about giving someone a fish versus teaching them to fish. But there’s an added level of expertise that goes beyond teaching someone to fish—and it’s the same kind of expertise that innovation requires.