10 Innovation Articles You Need to Read Right Now

Filed Under Innovation

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Arwen Heredia

September 3, 2014

In a lot of ways, collaboration is at the core of innovative thinking, whether it’s on purpose or not. After all, it’s most often through other people’s ideas, approaches, successes, and failures that we learn, grow, and are inspired to think differently and push for change. While not all great minds actually think alike, looking to thought leaders with solid perspectives in the innovation space is an incredibly good place to start. And, considering the crushing amount of expert content that’s available, it’s always nice to have someone else separate the wheat from the chaff.

Below, in no particular order, are 10 innovation articles you need to read straight away.

1. The Critical Missing Component for Innovation Success is…

By Jeffrey Phillips

From Innovation Excellence:

“Sorry, but when you ask people to innovate, they need to understand where the firm is trying to go. Should innovation serve to drive more of the same – pursue the same customers and markets? Are we trying to extend our value proposition in existing markets, segments and products? Are we trying to enter new markets, industries, geographies or segments?

People laugh at the “vision” thing. Vision and mission are often overwrought and useless, because executives state them once at a corporate meeting and then let the business go back to whatever it was doing previously. Most corporations have strategies and visions that are frequently communicated and never understood two levels down below the CEO. Unless and until you can create a purposeful, meaningful vision that you can communicate to innovators, you can’t innovate successfully.”

Read the full article >>

2. Fostering Collaboration for Innovative Excellence

By Alicia Lawrence

From Innovation Management:

“Collaboration leads to effectiveness, which makes innovation possible. This is clearly seen and demonstrated by NetHope — a non-profit organization made up of 37 international, individual non-profits that work together to deliver over $40 billion in humanitarian aid, emergency response, relief and other programs on a yearly basis. Singly, not one of the organizations involved NetHope could work toward those results, however, individually the effect is multiplied and efficiency is the natural byproduct.

In other areas of business, this is also clearly demonstrated. The power of collaborative actions and thinking is exponential to the power of working in a single manner — whether single refers to a sole company or a sole individual — in terms of effectiveness. If excellence is the desired end result, collaboration must be a focus at the start.”

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3. How to Create Innovation Cultures That Keep Working

By Mike Steep

From Forbes:

“Despite the outsize attention they often garner, true entrepreneurial cultures are rare in large companies. One of their hallmarks, at least in their early days, is that they often feature a single, rogue innovator, a leader who by timing or luck finds himself orchestrating a maelstrom of technology disruption. Think Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Carroll Shelby, Stephen Elop, Sergey Brin, or, long ago, Edwin Land at Polaroid. In keeping with the bold personalities that run them, the companies are usually willing to take risks that normal companies would consider off the charts.

Cultures that form in response to these leaders are almost never satisfied with incremental growth but rather strive for major disruption. Like sharks, they target and attack mature companies where they are weakest—in their business models. They prey on lethargic industries with outdated practices that can be completely disintermediated. They use the power of emerging and disruptive technologies to reinvent the way products and services are used.”

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4. When It Comes to Innovation, Small Ideas Can Mean Big Wins

By Rich Kneece

From Wired:
“A common criticism of big companies, regulated companies, and companies with “traditional” cultures is that they move slower than a snail crawling through peanut butter. Government compliance and accounting for the widespread impacts of an idea are necessary steps in the innovation process. Necessary or not, these steps are time-consuming and frustrating for employees and partners trying to push fresh ideas forward.

Employees interpret the meetings and approvals as a fear of innovation among executives. When things don’t move fast enough, team members give up and stop suggesting ideas all together. Others see that and follow suit. With few fresh ideas being brought to the table, executives misconstrue the absence of ideas as a lack of interest in innovation.

What a disaster. And yet, this disaster is what most of us know as the day-to-day reality of corporate America. It’s a pain to get things done, so most of us don’t even try.”

Read the full article >>

5. Getting the Unsaid Said: The Key to Collaboration, Innovation, and Growth

By Steven Gaffney

From B2B Community:

“According to a national study, 91 percent of people admit to lying on a regular basis. The truth is that all people lie or withhold information to some extent. It’s not because we’re all malicious or ethically flawed; it is primarily because we are afraid. We may be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, or afraid of retribution, or afraid of permanently damaging a relationship, or afraid of a negative impact on our career. But when fear keeps people from sharing vital issues, information, and feedback, the whole organization suffers.

To make matters worse, many are unaware of the way they unknowingly encourage others not to be honest by getting defensive or upset when someone delivers bad news or unpleasant feedback. The underlying message of such negative reactions is, “Don’t tell the truth.”

People can learn and change if they’re educated about the value of open, honest communication and provided with a safe environment that encourages it. It can also help to show people how good communication skills can positively affect their careers and help them win over difficult customers as well as new business. The good news is when people become aware of the pervasive effects of withholding information, they usually feel empowered to make the changes that fuel individual and organizational success. These changes are contingent upon the consistent implementation of the next two keys.”

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6. If You Give an Innovator an Idea, He’ll Want to Launch It

By Jeffrey Phillips

From Innovation Excellence:

“The real problem is that the individual acts are all easy to define, and somewhat easy to conduct. The “magic” in the innovation process is defining and understanding all the strong and weak interactions, dependencies and decisions and building a – wait for it, here comes the MBA consulting word – holistic innovation approach that recognizes and understands all of the interrelationships, consequences and dependencies. If I build the best idea generation facility in the world in a large corporation but neglect to consider and rework the means of getting ideas into a product or service development process then all I create is cynicism. But idea generation tools and techniques are easy, and rethinking priorities and product portfolios and rejiggering priorities for existing products and services to make way for new product development is risky and difficult.”

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7. Transformation Through Strategy and Innovation

By Michel van Hove

From Strategos;

“Opportunity drives innovation whereas processes and organization enable innovation to happen efficiently and repeatedly. Yes you need to design processes, develop capability and the right organization that supports innovation in the longer term. But innovation is initially about generating excitement, about realizing people’s ideas (talent needs to see their ideas realized); it has the power to mobilize teams to focus on delivering something new and of value to the business. People generally do not get excited about processes and organizational design. Starting with that kills any momentum you may have generated.

Instead we focus on running innovation challenges that activate and execute our strategy. These challenges range from what we call early stage (broader opportunity areas that need to be explored) to late stage (specific ideas we want to realize) and from management innovation[2] (new ways to organize, lead, coordinate or motivate) to front line (engaging the wider organization or even beyond for ideas).

So rather than focusing on a ‘grand design’ which you probably won’t get right the first time anyway it is better to start innovating, building momentum, removing obvious roadblocks along the way and learn what works best in your situation and circumstances.”

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8. 5 Classic Books That Have Inspired Innovative Thinking Throughout Time

By Faisal Hoque

From FastCompany:

“Creativity, innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship — they all begin within us; each is very much a human process.

So naturally, the more we humanize the way we think and work, the more progress we can make in these arenas. If we understand the mental and emotional drivers of innovation and creativity, we can be more innovative and creative.

As a modern-day author, I have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before me. Their works, a diverse arrangement of titles and backgrounds, have inspired me to understand what’s behind things like innovation and leadership, and I believe they will inspire you too.

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9. Ready to Play The Innovation Game?

By Pedro da Cunha & Francisco de Rhodes Sérgio

From Innovation Management:

“In the corporate realm, this is no time to leave it all to luck. Worldwide, businesses and organisations realise they may be doomed to compete in a ‘red ocean’ where prices and margins sink downward. To prevent this downward spiral, new ideas and outside the box thinking are essential – to create differentiated business models, products and services, as well as competitive cost structures.

You need to gather your people’s collective intelligence to find new answers. And gamification has proved to engage employees’ and stakeholders’ attention around your key business challenges.

Gartner has, in fact, predicted that by next year 40% of Global 1000 organizations will be using gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. To be ahead of the game, you have to be ready to play the game.”

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10. Innovation Disrupted: 6 Ideas To Inspire Business Transformation

By Vivek Bapat

From Forbes:

“Like bees to honey, the industry is hooked and the dopamine-induced innovation cravings continue. Companies are betting on innovation across their entire business models — from servicing customers, improving their supply chains, or delivering breakthrough products and services. They are spending more money on Research & Development, and on acquiring patents, to corner the next big thing.

The media has played a role too, expounding the role innovation has to play in growth, and further fueling the flames. Explanations of innovation, conferences, books, and articles on the virtues and failures of innovation abound. The latest skirmish receiving global attention came from Jill Lepore in her essay titled The Disruption Machine, where she shook the very foundation of Disruptive Innovation — the big daddy of modern innovation strategy. She questioned everything – from the validity of the research, the case studies, and resulting theory and principles. The patriarch of the theory, Clayton Christensen, immediately responded with a swift and curt rebuttal.

Unfortunately many of these theories, as well intentioned as they are, don’t explain how innovation happens in real life; they only explain the consequence.”

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