Thursday, August 21, 2003

2 Conflicting Views on Innovation

Although not strictly on Corporate Innovation in the process terms that we normally deal with here, I found it interesting to read the 2 contrasting "expert" opinions found in BusinessWeek on the future of Innovation in the tech industry.

Nicholas Negroponte, MIT's Media Lab Founder and so-called "futurist" has a rather negative viewpoint here - BW Online | August 25, 2003 | Online Extra: Nicholas Negroponte: The Innovation "Void"

Whilst an ever optimistic Steve Jobs of Apple fame presents a far brighter vision here - BW Online | August 13, 2003 | Steve Jobs: "I'm an Optimist"

i wonder which one is right....
MIS Magazine - Innovate or die An excellent case study on Australian company AMP and their efforts to bring innovation into their company.

AMP is one of an elite few companies in AustralAsia (others include Carter Holt Harvey in New Zealand and Hydro Tasmania) to have gone all out in the creation of a culture for innovation. This meant getting out beyond the traditional R&D dept and into the rest of the company too.

Some of the highlights of their efforts:
- CIO as champion of the innovation practice
- Close tie in with Employee Communication and Knowledge Sharing function
- Internal "Intrapreneurs" who mentor/champion change in business
- An internally developed intranet-based capture and tracking tool, as a forum for ideas and suggestions
- ‘conversation cafes’ to act as brainstorming forums to generate new ideas
- A Reward program focusing on intrinsic (public praise, exposure to new opportunities, career growth), rather than extrinsic (ie cash) rewards.

Although there's no doubt that their system has room for improvement, they are undoubtedly taking some big steps in the right direction - and the case as a whole contains some great ideas for all corporate innovation processes.

Monday, August 18, 2003

The Register - Inflexible Work Hours Kill Creativity A UK study of 1000 people apparently confirmed the beliefs of many chronobiologists or body clock scientists, who have suggested that if we don't listen to our body clock we won't perform as effectively. The study confirms that everyone has different periods at which they feel more intellectually active and able to be creative. Employers need to therefore consider helping their employees structure their day around when they perform tasks most effectively - especially creativity and other brain intensive activities.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

HBS Working Knowledge: Innovation: The Best Practices of Technology Brokers Andrew Haragdon (Aug 4th) looks at some of the best practices adopted by firms such as IDEO as they look to combine and create ideas to innovate and invent. In his this excerpt from his new book, "How Breakthroughs Happen", he's identified four intertwined work processes that help them continuously come up with new stuff:

1) capturing good ideas
2) keeping ideas alive
3) imagining new uses for old ideas
4) putting promising concepts to the test

Interesting stuff - although very much weighted towards the invention rather than innovation side of things in my view - but still worth a read.

Friday, August 08, 2003

INDUSTRYWEEK COLUMN -- Viewpoint -- Connect To Innovate This short, but interesting piece by John Teresko observes that many great innovators invented very little - but instead were able to make connections between ideas that are not so obviously associated with each other - such as Henry Ford using inspiration from the process used in the disassembly of carcasses in Chicago's meatpacking factories to come up with the assembly line concept used in the automotive industry. Interesting article with some fun examples