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The Invisible Advantage

The Invisible Advantage

by Soren Kaplan

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SOREN KAPLAN

"It’s really not that difficult to decipher your innovation culture by looking at leadership behavior, organizational structure, business processes, metrics and incentives, rewards and recognition, and the stories and symbols that reinforce (or inhibit) innovation. By ...

A Culture of Innovation

Culture is the collection of unwritten rules, norms, and values that influence people’s behavior. When it comes to innovation, especially disruptive innovation, an organization’s culture can be either the rocket fuel or death knell of an organization’s ability to grow and thrive....

Products, services, and even business models become commodities over time. If organizations do not continually invent and reinvent their competitive advantage, they risk being disrupted into obsolescence.

Culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage

Unlocking The Right Kind of Innovation Culture

Every organization must unlock its innovation culture in its own unique way.

What works for Google and Apple might actually kill innovation in other companies. Effective best practices must be artfully adapted to the unique personality of your organization.

SOREN KAPLAN

"For many companies, coming up with ideas often isn’t the problem. The challenge is turning ideas into something real that delivers an impact. This is where metrics can make the difference between no ideas, lots of ideas that go nowhere, and real innovation."

  • Metrics give us direction. Leaders set goals and measure progress; often this focus on easily measured metrics like speed, efficiency, accuracy, or profits.
  • Innovative behaviors are difficult to quantify, and most companies don’t have innovation metrics.

Define the Outputs

Measuring profitability and the support of your customers is important, but it doesn’t tell you what specific behaviors will lead to more profits and more satisfied clients in the future. Your metrics need to define the end goal and encourage innovative practices.

Innovation metrics th...

Once you have defined the end goal, you need to give people specific goals to reach our larger goals. Every employee should be aware of the importance they play in achieving the company’s goals and how they share responsibility for innovation.

  • Communicate trust an...

SOREN KAPLAN

"Measuring innovation also involves setting specific goals that will help fuel the process—the things you do internally to help you hit your targets. When you give people targets, they take on responsibility for hitting them. And in the process, they produce experience...

The Three Types of Innovation

Here’s a model that any organization can apply to set up its definition of innovation and take a portfolio approach to allocate its time and effort:

  • 70% Incremental innovation: small changes in processes, products, services, strategies, etc.
  • 20% Sustaining innovati...

Here are some examples of innovation intent statements that can do just that:

  • Finance: To deliver financial insight that drives strategic business decisions, new market opportunities, and the innovation process.
  • HR

Without the focus an innovation intent provides, people tend to think innovation belongs to someone else (such as Research and Development) and assume it isn’t part of their job.

The lack of a thoughtfully defined innovation intent also makes it difficult for leade...

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created 20 ideas

Innovation is key to work thinking and living, 10 faces of innovation by tom kelley is a great guide to innovative thinking leading to design thinking

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created 12 ideas

The practice of innovating is too valuable a skill to overlook. Businesses that downplay the importance of pushing the boundaries and asking the questions run the risk of becoming stagnant, inflexible, and irrelevant. What the author argues in The Ten Faces of Innovation is that “innovation” is more than a buzzword found on the covers of business magazines; it’s a lifestyle and your company’s best secret weapon.

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created 10 ideas

I also had a strong tendency to do things the hard way without anyone’s help. Again, in this way, I threw any unfair advantages I had (like my parents being willing and able to invest in me but me choosing to go it alone) down the drain. I’ve foregone a lot of unfair advantages in my life in pursuit of true meritocratic ideals. The trouble was, as this book showed, our society was never purely meritocratic to begin with. I was driven by naive delusion.

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