There’s a classic Venn diagram generally attributed to Ideo’s Tim Brown that points to the reality that for an idea to be considered an innovation, it needs to satisfy three criteria: desirability (people would want it), feasibility (it is something that can realistically be created) and viability (it can be made and offered in a way that makes financial sense for the business). Academics or inspired home tinkerers may be satisfied with any combination of one or two of these qualities, but a business, especially a publicly held business, needs to satisfy all three.
What most people forget about the most game-changing innovations is that, more often than not, they satisfied some unmet basic need in a simple way. The breadth and complexity of the effect of that innovation came later, as more and more people found more and more ways to utilize that innovation to address some variation of the original need. Keeping that in mind, if you’re charged with corporate innovation, there are a lot of reasons to focus on simple, small innovations. Let’s explore!
I’m not sure who first promoted the idea that the greatest determiner of whether a corporation could successfully innovate is an ill-defined, immeasurable quality named “agility.” I am sure that the individual in question had a penchant for oversimplification. Just do a search for “agile business” books on Amazon, and the results are well over the 2,000 result threshold where Amazon stops counting. It’s not that a company shouldn’t have the qualities linked to the idea of agility. It’s just that agility is an emergent condition resulting from a number of more easily quantified and measurable behaviors.
In business, we should always celebrate our successes. We should all find happiness and take comfort in classic, somewhat irrefutable, business metrics, like returning a healthy net profit, growing sales and customer loyalty, to name a few. But there are anecdotal success measures most people repeat that, while they directionally point to good things, should also have you start asking whether they actually are signs of a problem. Let’s look at three of the most common.
The relationship between risk and reward is fairly established—it’s unlikely you get the latter without taking on the former. How can established businesses make sure that the risk of their innovation is worth the reward? Read on.
A July 1945 issue of The Atlantic article can be traced as the source for most of the technologies driving the world’s current economic growth. The author, Dr. Bush, predicted personal computers, touch screens, hypertext, metadata, the world wide web, speech recognition and Wikipedia. How did this article have such a profound influence?
Obtain the fuel to generate your next big idea by taking the time to truly understand your users.
In the Apple heyday, Steve Jobs’ superpower seemed to be looking at an existing or emerging technology, empathizing with users, and seemingly effortlessly stripping the relationship between them down to its bare essentials. Looking at those moments of interaction that had the greatest impact on user experience, he would mercilessly execute against those. It’s a superpower that many claim Apple has lost since his departure. Thankfully, we can all learn from their mistakes.
This week, Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the world wide web, proposed a new standard for returning control of online identification back to users. It’s called Solid. How does it work and is it possible? Check out our latest post.
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