design | The Discipline of Innovation

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What Do You Stand For?

Despite what we keep hearing, physical retail isn’t dead. The key to thriving is by standing for something – having a purpose.

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Innovation: Are You a Gardener or an Architect?

George R.R. Martin describes two kinds of writers: architects (who plan) and gardeners (who see what emerges). These ideas apply to innovators too. However, instead of embracing one approach over the other, we need to build the skills require to integrate them.

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What is the Best Organisational Structure for Creativity?

Creative people are different from you and me, right? Well, no. David Burkus dispels this myth and nine more in his excellent new book The Myths of Creativity. This holds important lessons for how to organise our firms to help them be more creative.

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Innovation Opportunity: People Don’t Know What They Want

On my third attempt to quit drinking soda pop, I might have finally succeeded. My problems with this provide some insight into why innovation is challenging, and how we might tackle that problem.

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Look for Innovation From the Edge

Kenya is at the cutting edge of innovation in mobile money. How can this be? There are a plenty of reasons, and a few things to learn about innovation by investigating.

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Innovating by Going Backwards

We often picture innovation as a relentless forward march of progress. But sometimes, we can make a significant forward leap by first taking a step backwards. Here’s a small case study that shows how.

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Here’s Why Many Innovation Initiatives Fail

Wouldn’t it be great if you could do customer service like Zappos?  Or design like Apple? Or innovation like 3M? Who wouldn’t want to be like those firms? Well, it’s not so simple. Barry Dalton wrote an excellent post called You Can’t Be Zappos (and why would you want to be?) addressing exactly this issue. […]

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Different is Interesting

Are we really that resistant to change? An experiment with soap shows that maybe we’re more open to new ideas than we think.

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Innovation

Guest Post: by Ralph-Christian Ohr Triggered by a couple of recent discussions, I’ve been pondering for a while now over the question how evolution relates to revolution when it comes to innovation. In the following, I’ll try to develop my view on this. Let’s define  evolution as continuous and incremental innovations of a firm’s existing […]

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Are You Entering a Market or Building One?

There is a huge difference between entering an existing market and building a completely new one. To see an example, check this out – it is the very first Apple product, which Andrew Chen writes about in a terrific post: You can see why IBM didn’t view personal computers as any kind of threat to […]

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Why Innovation is Less Risky Than You Think

One of the most common excuses I run across for not innovating is risk aversion. Organisations don’t innovate because they’re risk averse, or so they say. But is innovation really so risky? Yes, a new idea might not work. But in many cases, not innovating is even riskier. Here is how Peter Drucker puts it […]

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Montessori Lessons for Innovators

Since the revelations that many stars of silicon valley are alumni of Montessori schools there has been a lot of interest in what managers can learn from the Montessori approach to education. I hadn’t realized this until Tim told me but the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and […]

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