Innovation: No magic bullet, no magic gene

I have come to conclude:

- There is no magic innovation gene or bullet.

- You can create the environment in which "innovation" can happen.

- The environment must include:
-- the ability to fail and try again,
-- recognize that not all things will succeed,
-- there must be a way to "escape" the cultural bubble in existence,
-- formality at the beginning of idea creation must be relaxed (no forms, business cases, project management plans, etc...),
-- people from varied backgrounds (experience, expertise, domain knowledge, etc.) must be able to interact on a regular basis,
-- less money is better than more (this forces you to think about ways to get stuff done), and
-- quick prototyping (aka the IDEO way) is explicitly encouraged.

However, the environment alone will not guarantee innovation. People must be willing, able, excited, engaged, diving into, running full speed, jumping up and down, tumbling, springing at the opportunity the environment allows/supports. The barrier to participate in such an environment must be zero; Any barriers one has to cross to get to such an environment reduces the innovation spark just a bit.

The challenge: reduce the barriers, create the environments, encourage the spark.

Panic and innovation?

Burning oil platform analogy:
-- Swim?
-- Jump?
-- Burn?
-- I might drown, You will burn.
-- What is my jump threshold?
-- If I jump, should I be concerned in what direction to jump?
-- I know I am jumping in to water...Will there be sharks?
-- I know I am jumping in to water...Will I drown?
-- I know if I jump I reduce the probability of death... If I stay I know I will burn to death.
-- It is a sure thing that I will burn if I stay.

What kinds of innovation does panic cause? Coming up April 14/15 is the anniversary of one of the great disasters of the 20th century, the Titanic sinking. April 14th, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank early on the morning on April 15th.

Some thoughts to consider:
- What could the captain, crew, or passengers have done to save the ship?
- What could have been done to delay the sinking?
- What could have been done to get closer to saving more lives?
- What could have been done to communicate differently with other ships and get them to come sooner?

Stay tuned.

About InnovationCreation

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