The Nature of Innovation
Rapid innovation requires an effective
innovation process. "The process of innovation is a rhythm of search
and selection, exploration and synthesis, cycles of divergent thinking
followed by convergence".3
Innovation is the key driver
growth, and profitability.
There are many parts of the whole field of
new product development,
creative approaches to
suggestion systems, etc. All of these components are important. "Yet
approaching them piecemeal will bring piecemeal results... These seemingly
disparate issues must be integrated into a single overarching strategy if
they are to be mobilized in the quest for
In this new era of
you must design your firm's innovation process holistically.
Born in heavy
manufacturing, the phase-gate approach is the
oldest and by far the most common innovation paradigm in the world.
It breaks innovation into a series of sequential phases, with gates
that must be cleared before you can proceed to the next phase.
Ideally, the criteria for passing through each gate and the person
(“gatekeeper”) who decides whether the criteria have been met are
clearly defined beforehand. The project progressively gains
maturity, which is tested at each gate until completion. The gates
provide a clear and distinct mechanism to ask and answer the
question, should we continue? Driven by the need to reduce the risk
of change when ordering expensive tools with long lead times, the
phase-gate model’s hallmark is an early “design freeze” that creates
a stable target for the reminder of the innovation process
phase-gate model has many weaknesses
well only when:
the time required to innovate is shorter than the
rate of change in the
the quality, reliability, and safety requirements
a company has never had a defined innovation
process and can use the phase-gate paradigm as a good first step
to stabilize innovation before trying to speed it up.
The Jazz of Innovation
The improvisation-driven model for
management doesn’t discard structure, just as there
is a clear structure to good jazz.
In innovation, this structure is created
business processes, systems and organizational
and road-mapping processes cannot guarantee brilliant flashes of creative
insight, but they can prepare minds and increase the odds that such flashes
occur in real time. Thus structure, as chords do in jazz, serves as a basis
The Jazz of Innovation: 11 Practice Tips
Freedom To Fail
Publicly Defined Innovation Process
In any socio-technical system the people in the
system work better when they understand how they fit into the system as a
strategic aligning, a common language for
innovation, and builds bridges between technologists and business managers
within your corporation, and with your major suppliers and customers.
firm lacks a publicly defined innovation process, everyone operates based on
their own past experience and assumptions. Because these are likely to be
different, task timing, deliverables, and interfaces won't match up."1
In successful medium and large companies, the
innovation process is documented explicitly via maps
and charts, and implicitly communicated by words and practice. In young
companies, the innovation process is often a part of the firm's
knowledge base, and therefore it is invisible. To grow substantially,
though, young firms must eventually make the core element of their
innovation process explicit.
Incremental innovation projects, due to
low levels of uncertainties, are usually follow the orderly phase-gate
Radical innovation projects, due to high
levels of uncertainties, use the flexible model. "Even though the radical
innovation life cycle includes many of the same sets of activities and
decision points, the reality of managing the process is strikingly different
for radical versus incremental innovation.2"...
The Fuzzy Front End – Early Phase of the
Idea Management: Diversion
and Conversion of Ideas...
Two Approaches to Technology Strategy...
Phase-Gate Innovation Process...
Attributes of Effective Innovation in
Mindset and Skill Requirements...
Business Systems Approach To Innovation
Attributes of Effective
Innovation in Silicon Valley...