The Tortoise and the Hare in Innovation – Go Slow to Go Fast

The Tortoise and the Hare in Innovation – Go Slow to Go Fast

Aesop's fable of the Tortoise and the Hare is well known from our childhood. The braggartly Hare spent his time gloating about how fast he was until the Tortoise finally had enough and challenged him to a race. Laughing at the slow Tortoise the Hare happily accepted the challenge. When the race started the Hare sped off and looking back yelled: "How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?" As we remember the Hare found himself so far ahead that he stopped to rest and take a nap and fell asleep. Slowly and steadily the Tortoise continued in the race and won the day while the Hare was caught napping. It's a familiar story, but for some reason we seem to have forgotten the message when it comes to business and in particular Innovation. The moral that Aesop shared was "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!". ...
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Happy World Innovation Day

Happy World Innovation Day

Today is World Innovation Day - the final celebration of World Creativity and Innovation Week. This week marked World Creativity and Innovation Week. Open minds, hearts, eyes to new ideas, new decisions, new actions: one week worldwide. The movement has gained so much momentum that the United Nations has added World Innovation Day on April 21 to its UN Days of Observance alongside Earth Day, Water Day, and World Humanitarian Day. World Innovation Day Today we encourage you to celebrate innovation and problem-solving, in particular against the big world problems: social, humanitarian, environmental, learning, children, etc. Add your own initiative to the growing list of Innovation Celebrations happening today around the world at https://wciw.org/wciw-2017/. As of April 16 there were 85 celebrations and initiatives planned across 28 countries around the world. Join in the worldwide movement. Show your passion for innovation. Be the change you want to see in the world. Innovate....
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Scaling to Differentiation

Scaling to Differentiation

I recently wrote about the importance of "Framework Thinking" as a way to simplify how you look at problems, structures, and processes so I thought I would extend that thinking as an example of how you can think about how you organize your business structure. Scaling an organization requires an evolution of maturity in your structures, your processes, and your approach to priority management. Without recognizing the need for evolution and focusing on building your foundation you can find yourself in crisis mode. Scaling to differentiation is framework approach to avoiding this crisis. I have written about the importance of foundation as well in the past as it related specifically to building an innovation capability in your organization, but the same concept of foundation applies as you think about your organizational structure. (more…)...
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ROI Comes From Customer Value Creation

ROI Comes From Customer Value Creation

I read a post the other day looking at the ROI (Return On Investment) in immediate payment systems (banking speak for instant payments) and one particular statement made by the author made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. In fact, the real driver may not be the ROI but just keeping up with customer and regulatory needs. ROI can't come from regulatory needs and cost savings to be successful. It has to come from customer value creation if you want to be sustainable. If the ROI is some sort of fuzzy "feel good" or "customer experience" story without strong numbers most businesses won't invest in these types of problems. In this example, if all of the major banks in a country (such as Britain or Canada) decide that "instant payments" don't have a positive ROI they will all choose to not build that capability since it isn't "worth it". If they do choose to build it it will be...
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Fail Forward

Fail Forward

I was reading today about a number of the biggest product failures of all time (kind of a fun read actually). One of the things that jumped out at me was the number of companies that are known for being really innovative that made the list of failures. Normally if you were to put together a list that included Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Starbucks you would be reviewing the "most innovative brands" or something similar. What does it tell you if some of the best-known innovators are also on the list of the biggest innovation failures of all time? Everybody fails. It's what you do with those failures that Everybody fails. It's what you do with those failures that matters. If you look at these failures you can see how these innovative companies used them to "fail forward". They learned from the failure and turned that learning into future success. Just for fun let's highlight a few of the "big failures" to...
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Curiosity Killed the Cat (But Satisfaction Brought It Back)

Curiosity Killed the Cat (But Satisfaction Brought It Back)

I was doing my morning reading today and I came across a few posts and thoughts the value of opposing ideas, disagreement, and controversy and it reminded me of the value of curiosity when we are going about our daily lives. Increasingly we see leaders just "speaking louder", believing that by talking louder they will convince more people to agree with their position (as radical as it might be). Friends and family get in comment wars on social media and post ideas that are clearly intended to create tension and disagreement. People are shocked by the fact that other's opinions don't align perfectly with their own. We see more people with a false consensus bias which reduces the quality of our social conversation (and makes it challenging to maintain our own curiosity). False Consensus Bias = People have a tendency to overestimate the extent to which other people think the same way that they do. The solution to the challenge is housed in the...
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Flawless Execution In Innovation

Flawless Execution In Innovation

I've had many bosses who spoke about the need for "flawless execution" in our organization. They spoke of delivering with excellence, achieving plan, and a relentless pursuit of productivity in our work. Then they spoke about how innovative we were going to be. How we were going to try new things, adapt and increase our pace, and become more agile. And when they were done you could look around the room and see confusion and fear. "How can I take chances, try new things, adapt and increase pace, and be more agile while I am delivering with excellence, making no mistakes, achieving my plan, and delivering productivity?" was the thought going through everyone's mind... "Aren't those the exact opposite approaches?"... And then nothing changed. (more…)...
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Empathy Mapping – A Versatile Tool for your Toolbox

Empathy Mapping – A Versatile Tool for your Toolbox

One of my favourite tools, when I'm working on innovation, strategic planning, marketing, or even just preparing for an important meeting where a key decision is needed, is Empathy Mapping. Empathy Mapping is a way to discover new insights into people, customer segments, or personas you have developed for your new product or marketing campaign. Those insights will help you to position your new product around the value it creates. They provide you with a glimpse into a change in behaviours or approach which hinders your ability to push a project forward. New insights will help you identify new differentiating features which give you an advantage in the market. Ultimately Empathy Mapping is about understanding people better by reflecting on them and attempting to put yourself in their shoes. (more…)...
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Leading to Outcomes

Leading to Outcomes

One of the more successful strategies I have seen managers take in their organizations has been shifting their focus from managing the process to leading to outcomes. In the age of employee empowerment, one of the best ways to allow your team to feel like they have a say in the work is to allow them some flexibility in the process and approach. As long as they deliver the desired outcome, they should be able to define the path. The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt I would suggest that the act of simply managing for outcomes isn't enough in the current corporate environment. Setting goals and offering flexibility in the approach by Leading to Outcomes is a far more effective approach. If you retain the concept of managing in the approach, you won't achieve the full...
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Be Willing to Change – Change is Power

Be Willing to Change – Change is Power

Last week I was in the car driving and listening to the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. While discussing the pitching situation with the Toronto Blue Jays he said something that really stuck out to me. Jeff had recently changed his position on whether pitcher Aaron Sanchez should move to the bullpen and he was catching a lot of listener ire for that change. The thing that caught my ear was the fact that the listener issues were mostly that he had changed his mind, not with whether they agreed with his position (new or old). People simply didn't like the fact that he had CHANGED his position. Somewhat flippantly Jeff said something that I think is a pretty profound statement on our society and one of the reasons that creativity and innovation are so hard in our organizations: Changing your mind is generally considered a weakness. (more…)...
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