An Innovation Manifesto

There have been a few before, but here’s another Innovation Manifesto:

  1. Innovation doesn’t need a manifesto – it needs action.

  2. We won’t wait for someone to give us permission to innovate- we’ll just try things out.
  3. Innovations have a life-span – we will try to execute ideas that last, and that make things better.
  4. Not-Invented-Here is not for here. We will execute the best ideas we can find, regardless of where they came from.
  5. Innovation is a process of flow – we generate ideas, we select ideas, and we execute ideas. Since the last two are the parts that most people aren’t good at, those are what we’ll concentrate on.
  6. We will build fast prototypes, and iterate rapidly instead of trying to make things perfect from the start.
  7. We will find small, inexpensive ways to test our ideas.
  8. We will learn from the ideas that don’t work.
  9. We will scale up the ideas that do work.
  10. Innovation is the best way to enact strategy – we will keep the two aligned.
  11. Innovation happens in networks – we will understand ours as well as we can, and build them to facilitate innovation.
  12. Innovation is not invention – we will focus on making ideas work, not just having them.
  13. New ideas have to become embedded within the economy – we will build new networks for our great ideas, and put them within innovative business models.
  14. We know that innovation is the best way to keep our jobs interesting – we want to avoid this:

  15. We will not complain, we will instigate change.
  16. Our strategy and our brand are built by what we do every day, not by what we say. We will use innovation to build both.
  17. The purpose of innovation is to help our customers and to make the world a better place. These are our primary evaluation criteria. (from Graham Horton)
  18. We realize that the approach to innovation depends on the novelty of the idea. (from Ralph Ohr)
  19. Eliminate habits, that is the beginning of innovation. Both with risk & fun. (from Marion Popiolek)
  20. We will inspire others and bring them on board because innovation is a team sport. (from Jorge Barba)

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

21 thoughts on “An Innovation Manifesto

  1. I’m definitely with you, Tim.
    Great condenstaion of the crucial principles for innovation (management).

    I’ d like to add:

    18. We realize that the approach to innovation depends on the novelty of the idea.

  2. Thanks Matt! I don’t want to put words into Ralph’s mouth, but my interpretation is that different types of ideas require different approaches to innovation.

  3. I’m with you Tim, to round it out to 20 I would add:

    We will inspire others and bring them on board because innovation is a team sport.

  4. Matt, Tim,

    Sorry for replying late to Matt’s question. Fortunately, Tim’s preliminary indication was right.

    In brief: Incremental innovation (‘doing it better’) requires a different approach than more radical innovation (‘doing it different’).

    Here’s my view a bit more in detail:

    Incremental innovation is typically based on direct customer integration. Requirements are “pulled” from the market / customers, leading to ideas for the improvement of already existing products, services and processes. Customers typically look for what they already know and what helps them to get their jobs done better. As the requirements are mostly pre-defined in this case, the solution can be realized straightforward and as efficient as possible. The innovation process is primarily data-driven and can access experience from the past.

    More radical ideas in turn are outside of the spectrum of what the market knows and is used to. Based on design- or technology-driven approach, visions are created by the innovator about what the market would adopt if it was offered. These visions are “pushed” into the (potential) market by making proposals. When the market adopts the proposal it has a high potential for market disruption. The entire process is more intuition-based as data from the past do not exist (yet). Radical innovation is often linked to a change in business model and value network.

    Good reads in this context:

    Hope this helps for some clarification.


  5. Thanks Tim and Ralph for the clarification.

    I guess what I didn’t get was that “novelty” in this case referred to the distinction between incremental vs disruptive innovation (I am a big Christensen fan). Now #18 makes perfect sense (and it’s right on the money).

    I really appreciate the time you guys took to help me out.

  6. Seems like all you need is #1 — which really says it all.

    Innovation is something the managing classes (in fealty of the ruling classes) would like a lot of, but who also do the most to prevent it from happening.

    There would be a lot more innovation if there was a lot more collaboration rather than competition. Unfortunately, our mainstream economy is focused on being competitive rather than being co-operative.

  7. #1 is probably sufficient, but I’m not sure if a single item manifesto is the way to go…

    I agree that collaboration is important, and that more needs to be done to encourage it.

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