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Why do successful companies fail?

Question-to-innovate Series: This the thirtieth of a series of weekly posts where I will answer a few common questions about innovation. Please feel free to add your own response. Also, if you have any questions you think we should discuss, let me know. Success hides problems.  – Ed Catmull, President of Pixar This is a [...]

For Good Strategy Not To Do Is To Be

 Why do companies insist on a one-size-fits-all template for strategy? Is it because the MBA types come in with their unimaginative frameworks that speak to unimaginative executives? I certainly think so. The ones who are at a fault the most, McKinsey, recently published a series of articles about the Art of Strategy. What’s new about [...]

Why settle for average? Steal from the greats to be great

The challenge with copying uniqueness is that is takes a relentless commitment to excellence. Whenever I’m asked about innovation, a list of names always comes up: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook. Why, I always ask, are these the ones that always come up? Nothing wrong with bringing up those companies, but surely, there are others. [...]

To innovate start with inspiration, not need

In the world of innovation, we routinely talk about addressing needs as a starting point to frame our thinking. That is what the vast majority of innovation approaches, and practitioners, consultants; preach. There is a huge industry that is booming at the moment because of this, and a dominant model is slowly taking over both [...]

Innovation is not a short game. It’s the art of playing the long game

Will this move the needle? What is the ROI? When will we see a return on our investment? How fast can you prove this will work? No, I wasn’t at a BIG company meeting when I heard these questions. I was at a Startup Weekend this past weekend, and the people asking these questions were [...]

Culture tells us what to do when the leader isn’t in the room

Culture tells us what to do when the leader isn’t in the room. We’ve all heard this before, and being able to achieve this is one of the daunting challenges of leadership. It is not unusual to be in a strategy session and come up with all kinds of great quotes and soundbites, that are [...]

To innovate better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission

Cultures of innovation are naturally dynamic. Employees think of new ideas and try them on the fly. Processes and procedures are fluid. There often is no one right answer to a problem, but rather experimentation drives many projects, efforts, assignments, and ultimately opportunities for improvement. With that said, in my neck of the woods, businesses [...]