Innovator’s DNA
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Innovator’s DNA






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Innovator’s DNA Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The Innovator’s DNA by Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen HBR December 2009 Five “discovery skills” separate true innovators fro the rest of us
  • 2. Sample of Innovative Entrepreneurs from six-year study surveying 3,000 creative executives and conducting an additional 500 individual interviews they found five ‘discovery skills’ that distinguish them Jeff Bezos ( Mike Collins (Big Idea Group) Mike Lazaridis (Research in Motion) Spencer Moffat (Fast Arch of Utah) David Neeleman (JetBlue: Morris Air) Corey Wride (Movie Mouth) Mark Wattles (Hollywood Video) Niklas Zennstrom (Skype) Marc Benioff ( Michael Dell (Dell Computer) Aaron Garrity (XanGo) Pierre Omidyar (eBay) Scott Cook (Intuit) Sam Allen ( Eliot Jacobsen (RocketFuel) John Pestana (Omniture) Diane Green (VMWare) Josh James (Omniture) Chris Johnson (Terra Nova) Jeff Jones (NxLight; Campus Pipeline) Herb Kelleher (Southwest Airlines) Peter Thiel (PayPal)
  • 3. Five “discovery skills”
    • Associating
    • Questioning
    • Observing
    • Experimenting
    • Networking
    A robust sense of curiosity about yourself, your work, your world and those around you
  • 4. Discovery Skill 1: Associating ability to successfully connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas from different fields
    • Entrepreneur Frans Johannson described this as the “Medici effect”
      • Medici family (Florence, Italy) brought together people from wide range of disciplines; as people connected new ideas bloomed
    • Brain works through experiences: some logical, some less so (anxiety, emotional)
    • “ Creativity is connecting things” – Steve Jobs
    • Grow mental muscle by using other discovery skills; able to generate new ideas based on this ability
    • Pierre Omidyar (eBay Launch)
    • Three unconnected dots:
    • Fascination with creating more-efficient markets
    • Fiancée's desire to locate hard-to-find collectible Pez dispensers
    • Ineffectiveness of local ads to locate these items
  • 5. Discovery Skill 2: Questioning ability to ask "what if", "why", and "why not" questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture
    • Ask “Why?” & “Why Not?” & “What if?”
      • Need to challenge assumptions versus focus on how to make existing better
    • Imagine opposites
      • Capacity to hold two diametrically opposed ideas in their heads…then producing a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea (Roger Martin)
      • Play devils advocate “…to imagine a completely different alternative can lead to original insights” (Pierre Omidyar)
    • Embrace constraints
      • Only imposed when necessary
      • Great questions can help us actively impose constraints
    • “ The important job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right questions”
    • – Peter Drucker
    • One of Google’s Nine Innovation Principles is “creativity loves constraint”
  • 6. Discovery Skill 3: Observing attention to details, most notably in other people’s behavior
    • Act like anthropologists and social scientists
    • Consistently and constantly look for small behavioral details to gain insights
    • Scott Cook
    • Two key observations:
    • Wife’s frustration on keeping track of their finances
    • Sneak peek at Apple Lisa
  • 7. Discovery Skill 4: Experimenting always try new things by constantly exploring new worlds
    • Try out new ideas by crating prototypes and launching pilots
        • …” found 10,000 ways that do not work.” --Edison
    • Active experimentation
        • Intellectual exploration
        • Physical tinkering
        • Engaging in new surroundings
    • “ Encourage employees to go down blind alleys and experiment…”
    • --Jeff Bezos
  • 8.
    • Building a network of diverse individuals can create a radically different perspective for you
    • Blackberry came from 1987 conference where speaker was describing a Coke vending machine would send a signal when they needed refilling…
    • Key ideas for JetBlue (satellite TV at seat and at-home reservationists) through networking at conferences and elsewhere…
    Discovery Skill 5: Networking ability to talk and learn from people they have nothing in common with
  • 9. Practice, Practice, Practice Five “discovery skills”
    • Associating
        • Visit your local bookstore and peruse 1-2 different sections that you normally go into…what associations can you make between that section and your field
    • Questioning
        • Spend 10-15 minutes every day writing down questions that challenge status quo in your life (asking Why? Why not?)
    • Observing
        • Note taking everywhere you go
    • Experimenting
        • Attend seminars or education outside your area of expertise
    • Networking
        • Hold regular idea lunches where you meet with a few new people from diverse functions, companies, industries or countries