Summer Reading To Inspire Your Fall Planning

Whether you're at the beach or staying cool in the corner office, tap into these outside resources and get a jump start on the year ahead.

 
 

BUILDING AN INNOVATION FACTORY

By Andrew Hargadon and Robert Sutton
Harvard Business Review, May/June 2000

Key Insights

Innovation is about taking ideas that are obvious in one context and applying them to another. By doing this frequently, organizations can build processes for innovative behavior.

MODEL: THE KNOWLEDGE-BROKERING CYCLE

  • Capture good ideas
  • Keep ideas alive
  • Imagine new uses for old ideas
  • Put promising concepts through experiments

THE RIGHT PEOPLE ARE KEY

  • Hire people with varied backgrounds who will view ideas in a different light
  • Encourage/incentivize people to share across the entire company

 

WEIRD IDEAS THAT SPARK INNOVATION

By Robert Sutton
MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2002

Key Insights

8 TECHNIQUES TO GET TEAMS INNOVATING

  1. Provoke unpleasant emotions in others (this prevents people from becoming comfortable always doing things the same way)
  2. Make yourself uncomfortable
  3. Treat everything like a temporary condition
  4. Ignore the experts (“ignorance is bliss in the creative process”)
  5. Think of something ridiculous and plan to do it
  6. Hold a “sacred cow” workshop
  7. Bring in some “slow learners” (e.g. people who don’t drink the Kool-Aid)
  8. Disband and reform teams (don’t let people get too comfortable)

 

WHY GOOD COMPANIES GO BAD

By Donald Sull
Harvard Business Review, July/Aug 1999

Key Insights

There is an assumption that paralysis leads companies with successful pasts to fail. In reality, these companies may unleash a flurry of activity but it is often “active inertia” – the tendency to follow established patterns of behaviour. Therefore, it is the inability to take appropriate action that leads to failure, not the absence of activity altogether. Instead of rushing into action, ask “What is hindering us?”

WARNING! Be careful you don’t try to change everything all at once. An overly aggressive approach can destroy crucial competencies.

4 HALLMARKS OF INERTIA

  1. STRATEGIC FRAMES --> BLINDERS:
    Mental models/mindsets shape how we view the world. Frames seduce us into believing these are the only things that matter, restricting our peripheral vision.
  2. PROCESSES --> ROUTINES:
    Process are good when they build efficiency gains but cease in usefulness when they become ends in themselves.
  3. RELATIONSHIPS --> SHACKLES:
    Relationships with employees, suppliers, and customers (members) can lock us into established patterns rather than freeing us to try new things.
  4. VALUES --> DOGMAS:
    Values should be deeply held beliefs that unify and inspire people. However, they can become dogma, creating a reactionary tendency to circle the wagons in the face of threats.

 

STRATEGIC INNOVATION

By Constantinos Markides
MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 1997

Key Insights

“The trick is not to play the game better than the competition but to develop and play an altogether different game. Strategic innovation occurs when a company identifies gaps in the industry positioning map, decides to fill them, and the gaps grow to become the new mass market.”

5 WAYS TO KICK-START STRATEGIC INNOVATION

  • REDEFINE THE BUSINESS
    Ask “What business are we in?” by answering: What product are we selling, what customer function is it trying to fill, or what are our core competencies?
  • REDEFINE THE WHO
    Choose customers (members) strategically. You don’t need to take all who will buy (i.e., join the cooperative).
  • REDEFINE THE WHAT
    Start with the what, then ask who can use it. This may help to identify new customer (member) markets.
  • REDEFINE THE HOW
    Evaluate core competencies and how they can be applied to a market opportunity.
  • START THE THINKING PROCESS AT DIFFERENT POINTS
    Try starting at each of the different points above and see where you end up, rather than just choosing one approach.
 

 

 

July 15, 2013


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