Artwork by Temabina
I decided to put together my own answers to Scott Anthony’s entry on Harvard Business Review because the questions are fairly interesting. It would be good to see if anyone else has done this so that we can compare and contrast our attitudes (and answers!) to innovation.
I felt that some of the questions themselves are literally asking for a chapter being written as the answer (such as encouraging innovation in organisation) and there are some which I left blank because I either felt that I didn’t have the capacity to understand the question (therefore could not answer) or that I did not have the capacity to answer properly.
How do you define innovation? Molding what currently exists into something new through incremental or disruptive (100% new) means.
What are different types of innovation? There’s the type that is implemented and works (to solve the problem) and the type that doesn’t.
How do I spot opportunities for innovation? According to Leonardo Da Vinci – “There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” Learn how to ‘see’ or spot innovation proactively and be open to the new ideas.
Which customers should I target? Early adopters/influencers who are more receptive to new innovation.
What should I look for? Look at what currently exists – the products, processes, strategies, resources, human capital, channels and so on.
How should I look? Look for novel opportunities to solve existing problems.
How do I come up with an idea? There are various ways and opportunities to come with at least one idea. Some ideas are generated through brainstorming sessions, discussions with others, observations of our surroundings, deliberate combination of ideas to come up with a package, forced through necessity and more. I would write down ideas on notebooks or scraps of paper and there are software and apps which can be downloaded to help store and organise these ideas. There are methods and books written on how to come up with ideas, various mind maps created and collaborative software that can be used during this stage.
What is disruptive innovation? I think that disruptive innovation, especially when customers are receptive to it, is akin to creating or finding a shortcut from Point A (problem) to Point B (solution). I also find it akin to Edward de Bono’s illustration of surpetition. Instead of racing and competing against others on one track, it is creating a new track while competing in the same race:
What is the best way to disrupt a market? As long as the market is receptive to the disruption. There are some cases where the market is not even ready. We see examples of what could have been potentially disruptive innovation (or the idealisation of it) occurring in eras where the market definitely was not ready such as the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci.
What does “good enough” mean? Having a set standard or performance indicator.
What is a business model (and how do I innovate one)? Being able to create value for the market and being able to respond to market shifts.
How can I “love the low end”? -
How do I know if my idea is good? If you can’t even convince yourself that your idea is good, how can you convince others?
How can I learn more about my idea? There are ways to look at an idea across different windows of perception such as Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, The Animals of the Four Windows, whether or not it is in the blue or the red ocean…
How can I get other people behind my idea? Work on the ‘elevator’ pitch. Do others a favour by giving them the info that they need to build trust. People back you as well as your idea.
How long does it take new businesses to scale? Depends – don’t be bloated but don’t be still.
Why is innovation so important? The world that we live in today was built upon innovation.
Why is innovation so hard? Innovation requires one/many to experiment rather than follow the familiar path.
Who are your influences? The three P’s – people, places, projects.
How do I encourage innovation in my organization? http://www.ronedmondson.com/2009/08/10-random-ideas-to-encourage-innovation.html
What is “the sucking sound of the core?” -
What is an innovation “safe space”? There are two types of spaces. There are purpose built technology and innovation incubators that provide office space and equipment, networking opportunities, mentorship, and more (such as i.Lab or the Brisbane Technology Park in Queensland). There are spaces (literally and I suppose more in the organisation’s psyche) that can be created within organisations. An example is Carly Fionira’s sum up of “The HP Way” in her book Rules of The Garage.
How should I form and manage innovation teams? -
What is in a good innovation strategy? Being fast instead of being big.
What is the best way to manage an innovation portfolio? -
What does ‘prudent pruning’ mean? -
What role should senior executives play in innovation? Senior executives can make decisions required for the innovation to be accepted throughout the whole company.
How can I personally become a better innovator? See below for some ideas on where to obtain information. However it is one thing to obtain information, another to obtain the knowledge to become an innovator. An innovator is a do-er.
How can I find more resources for innovation? It’s all about information – more of the right and relevant stuff and less of the noise. I subscribe to receive email updates from online resources with the major examples being Springwise, Trend Hunter, Digital Ministry, BNET and also ensure that I subscribe to the email list of an upcoming new project. I also follow both brand and personal accounts of innovators on Twitter (both from my personal and my ‘ideas-only’ accounts). Going through lists and seeing what networks these accounts belong to will no doubt provide more than enough resources. I also subscribe to innovation centres and groups in my state and country such as Creative Industries Innovation Centre in Sydney, QUT Creative Enterprise in Brisbane, The Warren Centre in Sydney. Last but not least, I also keep a look out for innovation occurring in specific industries and areas that I am interested in such as mobile, games, architecture, design.
How can I more quickly turn good ideas into good businesses? It is up to the founder/co-founders, their team and partners to ensure that this good idea turns into good business.
Has anyone built the ability to innovate at scale? Having attended a few of those entrepreneur pitch type events – watching a pitches occur in front of a judging panel and the judges providing feedback to the entrepreneurs in front of an audience – I have found that being able to scale globally is one of the items that constantly come up during the feedback session. So being able to scale globally is a good step – building new platforms (Twitter), distributing content on e-reading devices (Kindle), payment methods (Living Social, Groupon)..