Tag Archives: purpose

Serious about innovation? Here 2 more questions that demand the attention of leaders

Last week I shared with you what I call the litmus test for innovation leadership, two questions I ask leaders to get a feel for if they have what it takes to innovate; or create the context for innovation within their organization.

Those two diagnostic questions are key for me when I’m asked to help companies innovate. As I’m always on the hunt for new questions to add to my arsenal, while reading Alan Webber’s book Rules of Thumb I found two more questions that I believe demand attention from leaders:

Innovation starts with needs but it doesn’t end there

Businesses, either new or “me-too’s”, set out to fulfill a need in the marketplace. Whoever fills this need in a better way, usually is rewarded with profits for a long time. But, profits does not a sustainable company make. Though this particular story I’m about to tell you doesn’t talk about billions of dollars in revenue being evaporated, it does touch on the illusion of customer loyalty.

About 5 years ago, I started advising and then joined a celebrity baby clothing startup called Tuni&G.

Strategy doesn’t inspire people. Conviction does.

simon sinek on leadership

Before strategy, have an opinion.

Everyone wants a strategy, but not many have an opinion. I’ve talked about this before, purpose matters. And although I don’t like repeating the same message over and over again, I’ve got a feeling this is never going to end.

A real opinion, to me, is a stretch thought about what everyone thinks is important. For example, Steve Jobs believed design was just as important as technology. Hence, Apple builds products from an artistic point of view. And, it just so happens that they created products that became “must-haves”.

google's master plan

Tactics are superficial, strategy is deep

google's master plan

Here’s the question posed on yesterday’s #bizforum chat.

My answer: Because, as always, everyone copies tactics. Not strategy.

Apple’s strategy is unique to them. Their reason for existing is theirs alone. And their tactics are aligned with that strategy. More importantly, their type of leadership, based on principles of excellence and artistic perfection; is laser focused on executing their strategy.

Who else thinks and acts that way? Not many.

innovation on purpose

What is the purpose of innovation?

innovation on purpose

This question may be similar to the question “what is innovation?“, but it isn’t.

Why innovate?

Before answering, lets consider what innovation is. Two weeks ago I argued that because innovation means different things to different groups, that you should come up with your own definition of what innovation is.

For me, innovation is ideas transformed into value. I don’t get into whether it’s radical, incremental, disruptive or any other buzzword you can come up with because it makes it more complex for those who are not in the know.

we just decided to go

Is innovation a matter of will?

we just decided to go

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Most of the discussion around innovation revolves around strategies, tactics and the abilities organizations need to develop to do so, but not much is said about an organizations starting point: purpose.

Whether it’s incremental or radical innovation, most organizations do none. I know, and I’m sure you do to, organizations full of very smart people with great ability but zero desire to ‘innovate’. Here we are thinking they should be tearing up, but no. Yet here we are writing/talking about specific tactics to be innovative, yet most of the time what it comes down to is if an organization decides to do it.

No doubt ability has a lot to do with one’s or a group’s ability to innovate. But, what about will? A deep sense of purpose and determined by one’s own choice.