Tag Archives: Innovation

To Manage for Innovation is to Manage for Progress not Stability

progress and stability are mutually exclusive

Something extraordinary happened to the human species over the past two centuries: Economic growth transformed everyday life and changed poverty from a near-universal condition to a limited problem. The technologies that enabled this change emerged largely in Western Europe. Why there  and not, say, in China?

The Washington Post explores why the industrial revolution didn’t happen in China in a fascinating interview with economic historian Joel Mokyr.

In The Ideal Innovation Culture You Don’t Need To Ask For Forgiveness Or Permission

I was recently invited to give a talk at a conference in Mexico about agile methodologies. I was not able to attend, but a colleague of mine took my place in delivering the speech about accelerating innovation inside established organizations.

Below is an email he got from one of the attendees, in Spanish. The main message is that this person works for a company that is near bankruptcy, she has tried to do things differently but is consistently turned down by her bosses with the excuse that “young people believe they know everything”.

At the end she asks “what actions would you take when you have a strategy to turn things around but not the support to implement it?”

Simplicity Wins But It’s Not Without Its Challenges

Picking up your kids from school shouldn’t be a pain in the ass…

One of my latest ventures is a solution to the “waiting for kids at school” problem all parents face. In the U.S. it might be a little different than in Mexico, but the problem is universal: all parents wait a long time to pick up their kids at school!

This is not a problem I have, but a friend of mine does. So, my buddy and I created On Time to eliminate this pain.

Want To Hire Innovators? Here’s How You’re Dismissing Them

 Rebels and nonconformists are often the pioneers and designers of change

Most organizations are not setup to hire innovators, rather they filter them out. Why? Because they follow the tried and true solid advice for making good hiring decisions: hire for culture-fit.

To hire for culture-fit is to hire for comfort, the short-term, sameness; to keep optimizing what is rather than creating what’s next. The problem with hiring for culture-fit is that if your culture doesn’t reward risk taking and learning from mistakes then you will filter out innovators.

This is how most organizations work.

Focus On What Won’t Change

focys on what won't change

The most common strategy all innovators use to create new industries is to take advantage of an emerging trend or technology. It’s becoming harder to pull that off because we’re living in the “next big thing” economy, one where every new product and service is a gimmick looking for a market.

Still, a good 99% of the conversations about the future are about what’s changing, what that means and what to do about it. I’m guilty of it myself. And while it’s important to discuss these matters, the flip side of that is even more important: what won’t change.

Embrace Weird To Find The Next Revolution

Established companies don’t like misfits, renegades, weird people. It’s a fact. I always ask leaders of established businesses if they keep their eyes open for a Steve Jobs to hire; their answer is no.

I’m not surprised. See, most leaders of established businesses are preoccupied with maintaining the status quo, keeping the wheels turning, making sure nothing disrupts their day to day. So, bringing in misfits is out of the question because it means chaos.

Yet chaos is what’s needed to find the next revolution!