Innovation and Serendipity


This post was first published at Integrative Innovation.   In a previous post, I have pointed out the importance of diversity for innovation and organizational adaptability. Diversity is a crucial precursor to serendipity. In the Power of Pull, John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison emphasize the rising need for serendipity: We need to […]

Innovation is Impossible

James Altucher recently suggested that “Eat All You Want of the Foods You Love and Still Lose Weight” would be a great book title – that no matter what was inside, it would sell. It’s easy to see why. Many of us like to eat all we want of the foods we love, and we […]

Being Wrong is the Only Way to Learn

“Who knew doors only cost $30?” Jason Potts said that to me last week when we were talking about the work he’s doing on his house. The house was severely damaged in the flood in January. For the past few weeks, Jason has been working on rebuilding it. He was telling me about how he’s […]

Why Making Mistakes is a Key Innovation Skill

One innovation topic that consistently gets people worked up concerns the value of failure. Some say that you have to embrace failure when you are trying to innovate. This makes some sense, since part of the innovation process is controlled experimentation. However, that whole ’embracing failure’ concept tends to rub people the wrong way – […]

The Changing Innovation Process

How has the internet changed the innovation process? It has had a number of impacts, particularly on collaborative innovation, which is becoming increasingly important. Here is a short discussion on this topic from one of our previous Innovation Leadership Executive Education courses: George Dyson has a nice metaphor for the changes involved in answer to […]

Experiments – the Key to Innovation

There is a big problem that organisations often face: they want to be innovative, but they also want to minimise risk. This creates a certain amount of tension. If I had to pick the number one thing that I would recommend to organisations that are trying to become more innovative, it would be this: experiment. […]

You Don’t Need Any More New Ideas!

Scott Berkun let out the secret of innovation today in an outstanding blog post. It’s a secret that Rowan Gibson tried to let out of the bag recently, and so did Braden Kelley on Blogging Innovation. I’ve tried to tell you about it too, using both analogies and statistics. The secret idea of innovation is […]

How to Assess Your Innovation Capability

How do you know how good you are at innovation? One of the tools that we have found very useful for assessing innovation within organisations is the Innovation Value Chain. The tool was developed by Morten Hansen and Julien Birkinshaw and published in an article called The Innovation Value Chain in Harvard Business Review in […]

What is an Innovation Culture?

Here are the slides + audio from the talk I gave this morning for the UQ Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology‘s planning day. One of the things that they were working on was thinking about what they want their innovation culture to be, so Phil asked me along to give some thoughts on that. […]

focus on process, not tools

I’m reading Kill All Your Darlings by Luc Sante at the moment, which is very good. It includes a number of pieces on culture, many originally from Village Voice or the New York Review of Books. Sante is a fantastic writer and there are a number of great lines throughout the book, but one just […]