Six Ways to Overcome the Innovation Paradox
Jim Tanner, Chief Innovation Officer at Morningstar, spoke about the topic of “Creating a Culture of Innovation” at a recent Technology Innovation & Leadership Summit. In his excellent talk, he proposed that many innovations are quite obvious. Disruptive innovation is often known by the companies that are disrupted, but corporate cultures and other corporate best practices often inhibit the innovative ideas.
This is the Innovation Paradox as described by Tony Davila and Mark Epstein in their book, The Innovation Paradox: Why Good Businesses Kill Breakthroughs and How They Can Change.
Jim did an excellent job of explaining the paradox and other key insights about enterprise innovation.
He finalized his presentation by proposing six strategies for breaking the Innovation Paradox.
Here are the six strategies:
1. Problem Identification
Identify the problem and talk about it! The key, according to Jim, is to identify the right problem. As an example, he used the movie Moneyball, in which Brad Pitt played Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland A’s whose unique strategies helped the team win 20 consecutive games. After losing one of their best players, he challenged his top management team to describe their problem. They defined the problem as getting the best talent for their budget. Beane disagreed. He said the problem was how to WIN with the budget they had. They would never have the budget of the Yankees, so playing the same game with talent acquisition, in the same way as the Yankees, would ensure they would always lose.
2. Use A Diversity of opinions for brainstorming.
3. Start with The Why.
We’ve all heard the quote from Simon Sinek from his famous Ted talk. (No? Make sure you watch it!) But Jim put it in the “Innovation” perspective.
Kodak had a powerful “why” and they chose to focus instead on protecting the film revenue. “The Kodak Moment” was about capturing the moment. It was a great why. They had digital technology, but they CHOSE to ignore it because they weren’t focusing on their why. Instead they focused on the short term revenue of film, and the rest is history.
4. Back to the Future.
Great movie. Also a great way to think about innovation. Think of the way the world is going to look in 5 years, and back into ways to get there.
5. Decrease the COST of innovation.
What does this mean? Does every idea have to have the same process to get approved for test? No? Figure out a way to explore ideas in an inexpensive way. Every idea explored doesn’t have to be a “moonshot”
6. Break the rules
Corporate committees, multiple sign offs and approvals. They all inhibit innovation. Solution? Break the rules! Remove the barriers!
Thanks to Jim for an excellent presentation.
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