d e f i n i t i o n INNOV 8 : 8 S TA R T ING P OIN T S ON INNOVAT ION
Before starting on any journey, 2 INVENTION is the action of ﬁnding or
common ground needs to be discovering something that has not
established and this is no different been found or discovered.
when we want to discover or talk
about innovation. The common ground 3 INNOVATION is the thoughtful and
that needs to be set is the deﬁnition of purposeful act of transforming
three words: creativity, invention and creative ideas and inventions into
innovation. These three words have tangible forms that create value.
been used interchangeably and at the
surface can seem to have the same 4 SYSTEMIC INNOVATION refers
deﬁnition. To top that off, if one were to to innovation practices that are
ask 100 people to deﬁne these words, structured, sustainable, pervasive
more likely than not, one will get 100 and permanent. Systemic innovation
different deﬁnitions. is accomplished by the setting up
of frameworks, methodologies and
Therefore a common deﬁnition is environments that provide structure
needed for us to start this journey. for innovation to occur.
As you think about innovation, you
can agree with the deﬁnitions below,
modify them to suit your needs or even
create your own deﬁnition. However,
for the purpose of this booklet the
following deﬁnitions will be used:
1 CREATIVITY is the ability of
individuals, teams and organizations
to generate ideas that have value.
Creativity can be rediscovered,
enhanced and fostered.
oper ation =
/ innov ation INNOV 8 : 8 S TA R T ING P OIN T S ON INNOVAT ION
Most of us are familiar with Operation. The table below gives a brief comparison
Operation refers to the process of Operating and Innovating.
of doing things right in order for a
product or service to be completed in O P E R AT I N G I N N O VAT I N G
a timely manner. Operational steps are
DOING THINGS RIGHT DOING RIGHT THINGS
clear and for the most part are well-
deﬁned. Innovation on the other hand, STEPS ARE PRE-DEFINED STEPS ARE UNDEFINED
is the polar opposite of Operation, like
STEPS ARE MOSTLY LINEAR STEPS ARE MOSTLY UNCLEAR
the yin to Operation’s yang. Yet, also
like yin and yang, both need to exist in SINGLE ROUTE AND RESULT MULTIPLE ROUTES AND RESULTS
order to have a harmonious system.
DRIVEN BY FUNCTIONAL TEAMS DRIVEN BY CROSS-FUNCTIONAL TEAMS
Without Operation nothing will get
done, and without Innovation nothing REWORKING IS A WASTE REWORKING IS PART OF LEARNING
new will be created.
CLEAR FRONT END FUZZY FRONT END
EASY TO MEASURE TOUGH TO MEASURE
RICH HISTORICAL DATA POOR HISTORICAL DATA
FORECASTING POSSIBLE FORECASTING ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE
TRADITIONAL PLAYERS AND ROLES NEW PLAYERS AND ROLES
re a son s to innov ate INNOV 8 : 8 S TA R T ING P OIN T S ON INNOVAT ION
We should innovate because: 4 Change is happening at a lightning 8 Innovation enables the creation of
rate and the only way to cope and new source of value and they drive a
1 Operational excellence alone is adapt to change is to innovate. In 1930 disproportionate share of growth. This
no longer sufﬁcient. Operational the average lifespan of an S&P 500 can be seen from Motorola’s RAZR to
excellence gets something out the company was 50 to 70 years. In 2000 eBay online community auctions to
door but does not create the next the average lifespan was down to 25 every one of Pixar’s animated movies.
“new” thing. to 30 years. At this rate by 2020 75%
of current S&P 500 companies will no 9 Increasing proﬁt and market share
2 Cost control is not enough because longer exist. through acquisition rarely works
cutting cost or controlling cost only and is complicated and messy. For
prolongs the past and does not create 5 The competition is not waiting. example recent news has it that US
the future. Airways 2005 merger with America
6 Innovation gives you a way to West might not achieve expected proﬁt
3 In 2006, the top 25 most innovative differentiate yourself from your results.
companies in the world were found to competitors.
have a median margin growth of 3.5% 10 Companies that do not innovate will
per year since 1995 as compared to 7 Customers are looking for the coolest fade away like MCI, Netscape, Napster
just 0.4% for the median S&P Gbl 1200 new stuff – mobile phones, iPods, and Peoplesoft.
companies. services, clothes, etc. Customers
are shopping for innovation because
they know that is where the value is
in this modern area. Customers love
innov ation my th s INNOV 8 : 8 S TA R T ING P OIN T S ON INNOVAT ION
Some of the common innovation myths 3 Myth: Financial analytics is the key
are: criteria to approving new ideas and
1 Myth: Innovation is only about new
products or limited to technology R&D. Truth: Trying to guess the ﬁnancial
elements in 5 years for something
Truth: Innovation can be about totally new wastes time and is almost
services, business models, and always wrong. Instead start putting
customer experiences. For example, together quick, cheap and unreﬁned
Starbucks is innovating in the space of prototypes of your ideas or concepts
customer experience. to see what works and what does not.
Making ideas tangible help!!!!
2 Myth: Innovation is expensive.
4 Myth: Innovation is reserved for the
Truth: Not innovating is more lone creative inventor.
expensive. Not innovating has caused
the downfall of many companies. Truth: Innovation is a team sport.
Southwest Airlines innovated on You will need people from various
their business model while all the disciplines (business, engineering,
other American airlines did not. Now social science, arts) and traits to
Southwest is proﬁtable and the rest collaborate radically to innovate. You
are not and some have even ﬁled for will need a collection of people that
bankruptcy. can play the following personas:
anthropologist, experimenter, cross-
pollinator, hurdler, collaborator,
director, experience architect, set
designer, storyteller and caregiver
(The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom
innov ation inhibitor s INNOV 8 : 8 S TA R T ING P OIN T S ON INNOVAT ION
1 six sigma failing does not equal to innovation, like manner that people are not
but if no mistakes are made and no given time to think, to explore, to
Six Sigma has made business lessons are learned from mistakes, experiment, to play, to be human and
operations and processes efﬁcient you can be guaranteed that there ultimately to innovate.
in the past and will continue to be an will be no innovation. What is needed
important part of any corporation. is the banishment of fear and the 5 bureaucracy and hierarchy
However, relying on Six Sigma solely encouragement of child-like curiosity
is not enough and using Six Sigma and experimentation, a mindset If every time one wants to try out
to manage innovation is not going to of not fearing failure but having a a new idea one needs to ﬁll out 10
work. Six Sigma is inward-focused willingness to learn from the failure million permission forms and ask
and thus does not help organizations and to move on. for permission from another 10
to fulﬁll the unmet, unarticulated and million people before one can start on
unrealized needs of customers. Six 3 devil’s advocate something, then the chances of that
Sigma cuts down on variations and idea even starting is close to zero, let
mistakes. It makes processes sterile, How many times have we seen the alone having it progress to something
robotic and predictable. Innovation on devil’s advocate rear its ugly head signiﬁcant.
the other hand has to be messy, open on ideas that are still in its infancy?
and full of warts. So using Six Sigma How many times have we heard 6 common phrases that not only inhibit
to manage innovation is going to kill someone say “let me be the devil’s but kill innovation:
innovation. advocate” and proceed to pulverize
a new idea to smithereens without > Yes, but ...
2 fear really understanding the new idea? > We’ve tried that before.
We should give the new idea a chance > It won’t work.
Fear kills innovation. Being highly to breathe, live and grow a little to see > Don’t rock the boat.
focused on getting things perfect the where it goes before pounding it to the > The boss will never go for it.
ﬁrst time around, a lot of corporations ground. > If it ain’t broken, don’t ﬁx it.
instill in their employees a culture > We’ve always done it this way.
of fear - fear of taking a chance, 4 productivity > That’s not what the customer said they
fear of trying, fear of failing, and wanted.
fear of making mistakes. Do not Corporations are so focused on > What’s so original about that?
misunderstand, making mistakes and productivity in a regimented military-
t y pe s of innov ation INNOV 8 : 8 S TA R T ING P OIN T S ON INNOVAT ION
There are two main types of innovation:
Radical/Disruptive Innovation Incremental/Sustaining Innovation
• Revolutionary, breakthrough • Evolutionary, expected, sustaining
• Game changing, disruptive • Rarely challenges established leaders
• Challenges established market leaders • Addresses existing markets
• Creates new markets • Predictable: desired outcome is
• Exploratory: invites the elements of
discovery & surprise Both types of innovation are needed for
a corporation to be successful in the
long run. Radical innovation will get
you to the next curve and incremental
innovation will sustain you while you
search for the next breakthrough.
are a s of innov ation INNOV 8 : 8 S TA R T ING P OIN T S ON INNOVAT ION
When people think of innovation, 3 service innovation 5 management innovation
they tend to think only of product
innovation. Unfortunately, this is a description: How a company provides description: How managers perform
very limited view of innovation. Below value to customers and consumers their tasks.
are some examples on other areas of beyond and around its products.
innovation: example: DuPont ﬁrst introduced the
example: An international ﬂight on any use of ROI calculation as a means
1 business model innovation airline will get you to your intended to compare the performance of its
destination. A ﬂight on Singapore product departments. Today, various
description: How a company makes Airlines however, nearly makes you variants of this index have been used
money. forget that you are ﬂying at all, with to assess investment potential.
the most attentive, respectful, and
example: Dell revolutionized the pampering pre-ﬂight, in-ﬂight and
personal computing business post-ﬂight services you can imagine.
model by collecting money before a
customer’s PC gets built or shipped. 4 platform innovation
2 process innovation description: How a company can
provide platforms for multiple
description: How a company creates products.
and adds value to its offerings.
example: Microsoft Ofﬁce bundles
example: Walmart continues a variety of speciﬁc products (Word,
to grow its proﬁtability via core Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) into a platform
process innovation such as using designed to deliver productivity in the
a real-time inventory management workplace.
system and other systems that
give store managers the ability to
identify changing buyer behavior and
respond quickly with new pricing and
w hat’s nex t ? INNOV 8 : 8 S TA R T ING P OIN T S ON INNOVAT ION
Here are some tips on where to start:
1 getting resolve and commitment from > Is the organization allowing time for 4 space
the top people to think?
> As an organization, do we know Yes, look at ofﬁce space. If it is made
The senior management has to not enough about innovation techniques or up of uniform gray cubicles, do you
only support innovation, push for do we need to seek outside help? think creativity will be promoted in
innovation, mandate innovation, make > As an organization do we know what such an environment? Liven things up!
innovation a priority but they also have an innovation culture is like and are Make the ofﬁce lively and fun, engage
to show it, live it and breathe it. Senior we promoting it? people’s visual senses to feel that they
management will need to walk the are in a creative environment. Also
talk so every layer of the organization Once an organization knows where it remember to evaluate if your ofﬁce
will know that innovation is really is starting, it can then begin to chart space is promoting collaboration
important. Innovation strategy has to its innovation course. However, always because innovation is a team sport.
be driven from the top. keep in mind that the innovation
course needs to be ﬂexible and self- 5 culture
2 innovation audit learning and correcting.
• Have innovation as part of the
Know where you are in terms of 3 process and methodology organisation’s value system.
innovation. Ask questions:
Once an audit is done the • Adopt a suitable innovation
> Is there a mechanism to collect organization needs to start putting framework, including a system to
people’s ideas? the right processes, methodologies, measure progress.
> Is there a mechanism to encourage environment and culture in place.
idea generation? For example, an organization needs • Encourage and reward innovation and
> Is there an incubation place for ideas? to evaluate whether or not they need risk taking and even failure.
> Are there mechanisms for ﬁltering to modify the reward system to
ideas? encourage innovation, and possibly if
> Does the reward system encourage they should develop the concept of an
risk taking? idea bank to capture the ideas of the
> Is the organization encouraging people.
6 time 8 start small
• Give employees time to experiment • Get innovation champions. Look for
and do things outside their mandated a few people in your organization
project work. that are believers of innovation to be
champions. Give them the authority
• Give time for yourself away from to promote innovation, to talk about
meetings, presentations and emails innovation, to lead it and to champion
to think, to go out of the ofﬁce and to it.
observe the individuals using your
product or system, to take a breath • Set up a small multi-disciplinary
and to evaluate where your team is team to explore innovation. This team
going and where you want them to go. will be your pioneers in innovation.
Innovation deﬁnitely does not happen Give them the ﬂexibility and authority
in meetings or through emails. to try innovation techniques. Really
let them loose and let them be an
7 open innovation innovation brush ﬁre for you. Let
them go out to learn and explore then
All of us need to realize that innovation let them bring back their learnings
happens top down, down up, in out into your organization and spread
and out in. We need to realize that them. It is extremely important that
innovation cannot be bottled up only senior managers be an umbrella
within one single organization. With that shields this pioneer group from
these realizations, organizations need the devil’s advocates, the naysayers,
to put mechanisms in place to not only and corporate antibodies that are out
manage this but also to promote this. to kill anything new that they do not
understand. This will only be needed
at the beginning because once the
brush ﬁre becomes a forest ﬁre no
amount of rain will stop it.
Innovation is an art won by training and habituation.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Innovation then is not an act but a habit.
A R I S T O T L E [ PA R A P H R A S E D ]
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