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Innovation the Threefold Path

Innovation the Threefold Path

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Published by: champion on Jan 12, 2010
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Like we said in arecent newsletter , generally speaking,innovation is great for consultants and bad for managers(or leaders as we call them now).
Bad for managers/leaders
because innovation isnotoriously hard to do. Most innovations don’t work.Creativity is an arcane and unmanageable thing, likedreaming or ‘being present’. On top of that, organisationsdon’t tend to follow through on innovation. You can easilyend up with egg on your face.
Great for consultants
because you can dive into anorganisation and make significant, short-terminterventions. A cynic might say you can be a bitunsettling and disruptive, bounce some ideas around, facilitate in a challenging sort of way andget out without being responsible for what happens in the long term.Read the rest of thenewsletter article…More to the point, innovation is one of those non-subjects that writers, academics and theorists (aswell as consultants) have swarmed around – precisely because it’s such a vague topic. Twenty-fiveyears ago, whenTQMwas going to do for business what Obamais going to do for America, innovation meant suggestion schemes.End of story. You put out a box marked IDEAS and occasionallysomeone would put an IDEA in it. Mostly people put in Mars barwrappers and chewing gum. Your biggest worries were:
What to do if someone came up with a really good idea.Should you give them an extra week’s pay at Christmas?Free lunch? Shares in the company?
How to remove the IDEAS box discreetly without losingface when it all goes horribly wrong.But, having said all that, innovation is enormously important and this page is designed to flag upsome interesting starting points if you want to know more. We’ve mentioned a few Triarchy booksand articles but most of the people and sources listed here have no connection with us and havepaid us nothing.
The threefold path
Businesses that come up with good new ideas (products and services, of course, but also ways ofdelighting customers or saving money or doing things faster) and put them to work are often theones that adapt best, keep up and continue to make profits in difficult times. Businesses that cando that again and again are almost bound to do well. So, it pays to be able to institutionalisecreativity and innovation.
That reveals one main thread of the talk about innovation: managing, embedding andinstitutionalising it. Look for mentions of “innovation management” on these pages.2.
Another important strand is: where do we get ideas from? Customers? Competitors? Clever,wacky and slightly degenerate members of staff? The world at large via the Web? Look formentions of “open innovation” and “crowdsourcing” for more on this.3.
A third strand concerns how to get from creative idea to commercialised innovation – the“implementing” and “harvesting” stages.
You’re probably here because you’re trying to find out more about how to ‘manage innovation’ (acat herding euphemism if ever there was one). You may be studying it or researching it or teachingit or actually trying to do it. In which case, you may be looking for helpful places to start. If so,here goes:
A lot of (too many) people are blogging about innovation and innovations. Here are some of the best:
Although he’s now stopped writing here, Richard Oliver has some really interesting things tosay about Managing Creativity atPurposive Drift.
TheInnovation Weblogrightly calls itself “a meta-index of the latest innovation trends, news,technology, resources and viewpoints. It covers topics including innovation research and bestpractices and strategies, innovation management, business use of Weblogs for ideation andcollaboration”. It’s a good way to stay up to date with business innovations.
TheInnosight Blog , which is the group blog of Clay Christensen’s Innosight team, is ofteninteresting on strategic innovation issues, though the writers sometimes seem short of things tosay (and why wouldn’t they be, given my previous mutterings about innovation as a newsubject?).
Ellen Di Resta’sForesight 20/20blog is a thoughtful and considered contribution on consumerresearch and insights that can be used to drive innovation in the businesses that serve thoseconsumers.
Andrew Hargadon’s blog on technology, design and creativity ishere.
Mike Docherty of consultants Innovation2 blogs on innovation and entrepreneurshiphere.
Katie Konrath gathers and blogs about new ideasremorselessly but successfully. Worthfollowing. (Her recipe for creativity – there’s no magic, just keep practising”.)
Paul Sloane’sgood but earnest blogon innovation. Avoid the tips on how to tell a joke. He alsoseems to do the British Quality Foundation’sInnovation Unit blog.
 Jeffrey Phillips’ excellent thinking on sustainable innovation is atInnovate on Purpose.
 James Todhunter’s blog is atInnovating to Win.
An often fascinating blog on the science of creativityfrom psychologist Keith Sawyer.
Drew Jones and Todd Sundsted have an edgy blog and publishing business atnotanMBA.Drew published the clever and provocativeThe Innovation Acid Testwith us.
For a corporate/marketing perspective on innovation and innovation methods, see DrewBoyd’s blog atInnovation in Practice.
Everybody loves baldy Seth Godin.His blogon marketing (mainly) and innovation (quite a bit) is always worth reading, even if you have to take your subsequent irritation with the manto therapy.
Patty Seyboldis great on engaging customers in the innovation process.
Our own Andrew Carey’s blogged version of Inside Project Red Stripe (the story of
innovation project) ishere.
Social MediaSocial MediaSocial MediaSocial Media
Here are a few places to start. If you’re onLinked-In , or are prepared to join, there are severalhundred groups devoted to innovation in a professional context – innovation and marketing,innovation management, and so on. There’s a full listhere. Or some of the best are as follows:Innovation and EntrepreneurshipOpen Innovation and CrowdsourcingCreative SolutionsIf you useDelicious , have a look at the innovation tags. Otherwise starthere. If you tweet, you don’t need telling that a search likethiswill tell you what’s going on out there.
Business SchoolsBusiness SchoolsBusiness SchoolsBusiness Schools
If you’re looking for an MBA program[me] or summer school or executive education malarkey oninnovation management, you’re presumably looking at Business Schools (or B-Schools or even D-Schools). Amongst those business schools specialising in innovation, six of the best known are:
RSM Erasmus UniversityMScBA Management of Innovation - Master - RSMOpen Innovation - Executive Education - RSMInnovation - Executive Education - RSM
Cranfield School of ManagementInnovation Management: Strategy & Implementation
 Judge Institute of Management, University of Cambridge

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