Technology Innovation Insights ™

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Creating a Culture of Innovation – Part 1

Creating a Culture of Innovation – Part 1

Many great Innovations are obvious in retrospect – so why can’t our teams create them easily?

According to Jim Tanner, Chief Innovation Officer at Morningstar, less than 6% of companies are happy with their innovation efforts. To compound the problem, the traditional barriers to entry of scale providing cost advantage and customer loyalty don’t apply in the same way they used to. 
We were fortunate to have Jim speak at a recent Technology Innovation & Leadership Summit  with his presentation called, “Creating a Culture of Innovation.”

In that talk, Jim suggested that the concept of the better mousetrap is usually fiction. Most innovations are usually not high tech. Jim believes that most innovations are pretty obvious, and as a result we should focus on the obstacles on why our teams with our domain expertise are not able to figure it out.  
Don’t believe it? Here are some examples of major innovations that seem very “obvious” in retrospect.

  1. Bottled Water. It took until 1990 for someone to figure out you could take the sugar and special formula out of the water and sell lots of it.
  2. The cardboard sleeve was the the idea of a paper salesman who came at the right time to starbucks.
  3. Luggage is heavy, but it wasn’t until 1970 that a VP of a luggage company came up with the idea to add wheels.  It took 17 years from that point for a pilot from Northwest Airlines to come up with the innovation of adding a long handle to the luggage with wheels.

The more you investigate innovation, you’ll realize that lots of great innovations really are obvious.

So that creates “The Innovation Paradox,” which is that large companies that are following best practices in management are actually inhibiting their company’s ability to innovate!

In the next post we’ll discuss the best practices your company is implementing that is slowing down your ability to innovate.

Want to see the full presentation?  (Which I HIGHLY recommend).  Go here immediately to view.

Updated: April 10, 2017 — 6:58 pm

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