InformationWeek > Innovation > Immelt's Four Rules For Fostering Innovation > September 25, 2003 GE's Chairman and CEO briefly goes through his 4 Rules for fostering innovation. They are
1) Prepare the Organization to Innovate - I like this as a concept, although Immelt "prepared" his company by adding more engineers to his executive staff - which sort of makes it look like by "innovation" he is referring to simply technological innovation - and I would argue that technology, although important, is but one area to look at in the innovation spectrum.
2) Pick the Right Places to Innovate - again Immelt makes it clear that he's focusing very much on R&D in his definition of Innovation here - whereas best practice would be to spread Innovation beyond the traditional boundaries of R&D and into all aspects of the business where value can be attained.
3) Make Sure Innovation has a Measurable Return - In much the same way that the KM movement has been dying through an insistence on harvesting knowledge from employees for the sake of collecting it - innovation done for the sake of it is also not effective. It is important to have defined and measurable goals - and to look to innovate primarily in areas where there is a need or opportunity to innovate.
4) Use Size as an advantage - I'll expand Immelt's comments on this to include small companies too - there are definate advantage to being big - but there are also many advantages to being small - play to your strengths!