Innovation Matrix 4.0 – timkastelle.org


If you google “innovation,” you get more than 417 million results. If you narrow it down to “Innovation Management” you knock that number down to 3,160,000 results.

On amazon, you get 228,716 hits for “Innovation.”  54,485 of those are in Books.  You can cut the number down to 1,330 in the Patio, Lawns & Garden category, but that probably doesn’t do you much good.

If you’re trying to make your organisation more innovative, how can you navigate all of the available resources?

That’s one of the problems that I’ve been trying to solve with The Innovation Matrix.  It’s changed a lot since the last time you’ve seen it.  I’ve been using my Artefact Cards to help figure out how things work.

IMG_0495

First up, the big news: I’m collaborating on this now with Nilofer Merchant! She and I are developing the ideas together, and as we start to roll them out in earnest, you’ll see some big differences.  She explains what we’re up to here:

It is an idea that when developed could help any organization figure out where they are, and the moves to take based on where they want to be.

We’ll be sharing as we go. Which means anyone — quite possibly you — will have ideas on what to include or cover or you will start to challenge our thinking and in doing so, shape ours. You will ultimately be the sharers of those ideas, if you deem them worthy.

For now, I’d just like to outline the rationale behind this tool.

Innovation is important because it drives growth.  It may seem like a buzzword, but if you want to grow, you’ll need to innovate.  That’s why you need to find a way through all those results on google and amazon. Leer más “Innovation Matrix 4.0 – timkastelle.org”

Modernizers, Preservationists and Innovation | By Tim Kastelle & John Steen

In contrast, the Modernizers embrace dynamism:

Dynamism, by contrast, requires ongoing leaps of faith since we must continuously embrace, or at least accept, the fundamental uncertainty of social / technological change. I love the scene at the end of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” [clip below] where Indy has to make the “leap of faith” and step out onto a walkway that doesn’t appear to be there at first. It’s a useful way of thinking about how we must sometimes approach life in the Digital Age.

Finally, he explains why he sides with the Modernizers:

It’s just amazing how fast disruptive innovation unfolds on the digital frontier. Again, no one knows what lies around the corner next. But if we were to adopt the “preservationist” mentality, we might never find out. We have to continue to be willing to take little leaps of faith each day. It’s vital that we embrace evolutionary dynamism and leave a broad sphere for continued experimentation by individuals and organizations alike…


By Tim Kastelle & John Steen
http://timkastelle.org/blog/2010/10/modernizers-preservationists-and-innovation/

Adam Therrier wrote a terrific post today exploring his ongoing major theme comparing internet optimists and pessimists. He has written a series of very interesting posts assessing the arguments of the pessimists that think that the impact of the internet on society is generally bad (e.g. Nick Carr, Andrew Keen, Jaron Lanier), and the optimists that think that the internet is transformational, and positive (e.g. Clay Shirky, Kevin Kelly, all the Cluetrain Manifesto guys).

In today’s post, Therrier quotes some ideas from Rob Atkinson, who builds on Virginia Postrel’s ideas about dynamism and stasis. He describes the Preservationists this way:

From their perspective, evolutionary dynamism is undesirable precisely because we can’t preserve some of the things which they feel made that previous era great. That something could be a specific form of culture, a particular set of institutions, or any number of other things. The key point is: The don’t like the fact the technology is fundamentally disruptive and that is dislodges old norms and institutions. What is familiar is more comforting than that which is unknown or uncertain. That’s the security blanket that the stasis / preservationist mentality provides. Leer más “Modernizers, Preservationists and Innovation | By Tim Kastelle & John Steen”

Answer One Question to be a Better Manager

Most of you aren’t managing all-volunteer organisations, so you may ask: so what? Here’s the thing that I realised though – the more I managed in “real” businesses, the more I realised that all of the lessons I learned at the radio station still held true. Carrots and sticks don’t work very well anymore (see the talk by Dan Pink). Here’s how Douglas Rushkoff puts it in Get Back in the Box:

These top-down, regimented forms of group cohesion could not cope with the complexity of real human beings interacting with one another. Our newfound ability to embrace more complex dynamics changes all this. Instead of trying to get everyon to conform to a simple set of commands, a great manager, organizer, or leader strives to create an environment or provide the tools through which people naturally cooperate.


What would I do differently if everyone reporting to me was a volunteer?

Some of the things I learned are:

  • Passion trumps everything: passion is what kept the station running. It’s why I got involved with it in the first place. All of us were passionate about finding music and sharing it with people (or sharing the news, or sports). How can you keep a group of 120 volunteers going? Purpose.
  • You can’t use power: when everyone is a volunteer (with more important things that the should probably be doing!), you can’t force them to do anything. If they don’t like the situation, they’ll quit.
  • The number one job of managers is to remove obstacles: when you have neither carrots nor sticks to fall back on for motivation, you develop a different set of management skills. Finding the things that motivate people is one of them. The big one though is figuring out how to clear out the obstacles that prevent people from getting things done. A good manager is not a director, but rather a supporter. Leer más “Answer One Question to be a Better Manager”

How to Improve Your Innovation Metrics

We’ve written a few posts criticising some of the more common innovation metrics in use, so I thought it would be smart to outline some ways that we can actually develop more effective metrics. Here’s a story that might help:

A while ago I was in charge of managing student recruitment for a tertiary education institution. One of the first things I looked into when I started the job was metrics – how did we measure how well my section was doing? The answer was one number: total number of enrolled students each year. The job that I was given was to increase that number by as much as possible (which begs all kinds of questions about quality, teaching and so on, but let’s set those aside for now…).

The problem was that managing that number as a standalone was hard. Well, impossible, actually. So I looked into what other numbers we had, and I found a that we had measures for total applications received, and total enrolments. I worked with my teams to figure out the path that people took to become students, and we then also figured out a way to measure enquiries. Once we had these numbers, here’s what we did:

We made three metrics: total number of enquiries, the ratio of applications/enquiries, and the ratio of enrolments/applications. Then I made the marketing team responsible for enquiries, the information team responsible for applications/enquiries, and the enrolments team responsible for enrolments/applications.


This post was written by Tim.

http://timkastelle.org/blog/2010/09/how-to-improve-your-innovation-metrics/

We’ve written a few posts criticising some of the more common innovation metrics in use, so I thought it would be smart to outline some ways that we can actually develop more effective metrics. Here’s a story that might help:

A while ago I was in charge of managing student recruitment for a tertiary education institution. One of the first things I looked into when I started the job was metrics – how did we measure how well my section was doing? The answer was one number: total number of enrolled students each year. The job that I was given was to increase that number by as much as possible (which begs all kinds of questions about quality, teaching and so on, but let’s set those aside for now…).

The problem was that managing that number as a standalone was hard. Well, impossible, actually. So I looked into what other numbers we had, and I found a that we had measures for total applications received, and total enrolments. I worked with my teams to figure out the path that people took to become students, and we then also figured out a way to measure enquiries. Once we had these numbers, here’s what we did:

We made three metrics: total number of enquiries, the ratio of applications/enquiries, and the ratio of enrolments/applications. Then I made the marketing team responsible for enquiries, the information team responsible for applications/enquiries, and the enrolments team responsible for enrolments/applications. Leer más “How to Improve Your Innovation Metrics”

Innovation and Human Capabilities

In a terrific post, Nicholas M. Donofrio, Kauffman Senior Fellow and retired EVP of Innovation and Technology, IBM, comments on the need for transformation of human innovation capabilities:

“The innovation that matters now – the innovation that we’re all waiting for, even if we don’t know it – is the one that unlocks the hidden value that exists at the intersection of deep knowledge of a problem and intimate knowledge of a market, combined with your knowledge, your technology, and your capability … whoever you are, whatever you can do, whatever you bring to the table.”

“The kind of people who will be best able to seize these opportunities are those I call “T-shaped” as opposed to “I-shaped.” I-shaped people have great credentials, great educations, and deep knowledge – deep but narrow. The geniuses who win Nobel prizes are “I-shaped,” as are most of the best engineers and scientists. But the revolutionaries who have driven most recent innovation and who will drive nearly all of it in the future are “T-shaped.” That is, they have their specialties – areas of deep expertise – but on top of that they boast a solid breadth, an umbrella if you will, of wide-ranging knowledge and interests. It is the ability to work in an interdisciplinary fashion and to see how different ideas, sectors, people, and markets connect. Natural-born “T’s are perhaps rare, but I believe people can be trained to be T-shaped. One problem is that our educational system is still intent on training more “I’s. We need to change that.”

There are two consequences out of that: I-shaped experts need to transform towards T-shaped in order to thrive in the future. Moreover, companies need to align human resources and structures, so that the overall organization is able to act T-shaped.


John Steen wrote a series of  posts on why experts and crowds usually miss disruptive innovation and how to use networks to tap expertise and knowledge. I’d like to expand these thoughts a bit more towards the question: what’s the role of human capabilities in innovation? For elaboration, I’m going to combine two concepts I’ve recently come across:

In a terrific post, Nicholas M. Donofrio, Kauffman Senior Fellow and retired EVP of Innovation and Technology, IBM, comments on the need for transformation of human innovation capabilities:

“The innovation that matters now – the innovation that we’re all waiting for, even if we don’t know it – is the one that unlocks the hidden value that exists at the intersection of deep knowledge of a problem and intimate knowledge of a market, combined with your knowledge, your technology, and your capability … whoever you are, whatever you can do, whatever you bring to the table.”

“The kind of people who will be best able to seize these opportunities are those I call “T-shaped” as opposed to “I-shaped.” I-shaped people have great credentials, great educations, and deep knowledge – deep but narrow. The geniuses who win Nobel prizes are “I-shaped,” as are most of the best engineers and scientists. But the revolutionaries who have driven most recent innovation and who will drive nearly all of it in the future are “T-shaped.” That is, they have their specialties – areas of deep expertise – but on top of that they boast a solid breadth, an umbrella if you will, of wide-ranging knowledge and interests. It is the ability to work in an interdisciplinary fashion and to see how different ideas, sectors, people, and markets connect. Natural-born “T’s are perhaps rare, but I believe people can be trained to be T-shaped. One problem is that our educational system is still intent on training more “I’s. We need to change that.”

There are two consequences out of that: I-shaped experts need to transform towards T-shaped in order to thrive in the future. Moreover, companies need to align human resources and structures, so that the overall organization is able to act T-shaped. Leer más “Innovation and Human Capabilities”

Ideas Are Cheap

The problem for innovation isn’t that we don’t have enough ideas. We might not have enough good ones, but there are always plenty around.

But to innovate, we need great ideas, we need some way to figure out which ones to pursue (a selection process), and we have to figure out how to get the ideas to spread. Successful innovation takes all three.

I’ve got some ideas about how to get better ideas, but before I write them up, I have to figure out which ones are the good ones. Then I have to write them up in a way that makes sense.


About the author
http://timkastelle.org

http://timkastelle.orgYou can contact us through Tim at:  t.kastelle@business.uq.edu.au

I’ve said it before.

Andrew Hargadon has said it too – and in doing so he quotes Malcolm Gladwell saying it too.

Now one of my favourite current authors Charlie Stross says it as well: ideas are cheap.

Ideas are cheap.

They’re so damn easy to come by that I have difficulty understanding why so many people seem to want to ask me where I get my ideas from. All I do is read widely, and periodically bang a couple of random ideas together until I get a spark. It takes, on average, six to nine months to write a novel; but in brainstorming mode I can come up with half a dozen book-sized ideas in a week.

I have more ideas for books than I have time to write them. Also, some of these ideas are of … dubious, shall we say … commercial value. Leer más “Ideas Are Cheap”

The Core Challenge in Managing Innovation

It’s so important that the people that write about innovation keep coming up with new ways to state the challenge. James March talks about the need to be good at both exploration and exploitation. Roger Martin reframes this as the need to be good at both reliability (producing consistent results) and validity (producing novel outcomes the fulfil important needs). John Hagel, John Seeley Brown and Lang Davison contrast the creative activities that take place at the edge with the re-creative activities that go on in the core of an organisation.

To innovate we have to discover new things. This requires creativity, experimentation, risk, failure, and novelty. At the same time, to innovate we have to be able to consistently re-create the things that we have discovered. This requires discipline, the elimination of variance, and efficiency.


A consistent point of controversy is whether or not innovation can be managed. If you think of innovation only as generating new, novel ideas, then it is very difficult to see how this could be actively managed (although there are in fact things we can do to encourage and improve creative thinking, so even here there is some scope for managing). On the other hand, if you view innovation as a process that includes steps such as generating, selecting, executing and diffusing ideas, then it is a bit easier to see how it might be managed.

Part of the problem here is how we define management. If we view it only as control, then it is hard to manage innovation because control will stifle the creativity needed at the front end of the process. However, if we view the main job of managers as enabling, or removing obstacles, then managing innovation starts to make more sense.

I ran across a quote today from the performance artist Marina Abramovi? that helps illustrate the issue. She is talking about how working in a studio can inhibit creativity by encouraging artists to follow a formula:

You understand the kind of work tha twill have success with your audience and you start making it again and again, and you lose yourself. The worst part is that you don’t surprise yourself with your work, you don’t get new ideas, or take risks, because of the possibility of failure. But failure is an incredibly important part of the work. Life itself is what’s important, not studio space.

So this is the problem: to create novel ideas, we have to be working at the edge – out where failure is a distinct possibility, out where the artists are. However, within organisations, unlike artists once we discover something new, we also have to figure out a way to make it again and again.

Managing the tension between these two acts – creation and re-creation – is the core challenge in managing innovation. Leer más “The Core Challenge in Managing Innovation”

Our Job is to Invent the Future

If we are trying to innovate, what is our actual job?

According to Mark Earls in Welcome to the Creative Age, our job is to invent the future.

Seems reasonable to me. Here is how he build that argument:

…opinions are what you get back from customers once you’ve done something, so they are largely irrelevant to you. They aren’t the precondition for customers doing something or a good guide to what you should do. At all.

So don’t waste your time with ask/answer research and opinions. Throw away the reassurance of quoting the consumer or stats garnered from opinion polls. Watch your customers, observe them, live with them, but don’t expect them to tell you much themselves. Because they can’t.

Instead, recognize:

* It is your job to invent the future – you are the inventors.
* It is not the customer’s job – they are not good at the future but they might buy your invention if you get it right (or not).


If we are trying to innovate, what is our actual job?

According to Mark Earls in Welcome to the Creative Age, our job is to invent the future.

Seems reasonable to me. Here is how he build that argument:

…opinions are what you get back from customers once you’ve done something, so they are largely irrelevant to you. They aren’t the precondition for customers doing something or a good guide to what you should do. At all.

So don’t waste your time with ask/answer research and opinions. Throw away the reassurance of quoting the consumer or stats garnered from opinion polls. Watch your customers, observe them, live with them, but don’t expect them to tell you much themselves. Because they can’t.

Instead, recognize:

Using Networks to Find Knowledge

As you can see, effectively using the knowledge of the business means trying to get better connections to reduce the size of the “I don’t know who to ask” space.

So how can we do this? One possibility is that we direct our questions to people in the organization that we know are very highly connected. However, one simulaiton study of search in a real organizational network has found that this might result in more steps needed to find the right person. In this simulation, a slightly more efficient search could be conducted by going to the manager who is responsible for the subject area that is being investigated or by starting the search in the right department.


Last week Ralph Ohr left me with a challenge to think about how to use experts to get the best outcomes on making decisions under conditions of uncertainty. We constantly miss disruptive changes in the operating environment and I suppose if I really knew the answer, I wouldn’t be posting it on a blog.

Sometimes predictions are genuinely impossible because of true uncertainty. The future is the future and nothing in the past can help us predict some events. Rather than making predicitons, operational flexibility is probably the best response to this type of uncertaintly.

On the other hand, sometimes the emerging disruptions are right under our noses and the problem is getting over myopia. Experts can suffer from myopia as well as the rest of us so perhaps the issue is finding the right expert with the right interpretation of what is happening. Leer más “Using Networks to Find Knowledge”

Some Thoughts on the McKinsey Global Innovation Survey

McKinsey have just released their 2010 innovation survey. It’s a very thought-provoking read and its based on a survey of over 2000 respondents from several industries. The survey can be found on McKinseyQuarterly.com and its free to get a subscription. Many of the survey results regarding the management of innovation as a process are consistent with a lot of things that we have been writing on the blog. According to McKinsey, these same management issues come up year after year, too.


McKinsey have just released their 2010 innovation survey. It’s a very thought-provoking read and its based on a survey of over 2000 respondents from several industries. The survey can be found on McKinseyQuarterly.com and its free to get a subscription. Many of the survey results regarding the management of innovation as a process are consistent with a lot of things that we have been writing on the blog. According to McKinsey, these same management issues come up year after year, too. Leer más “Some Thoughts on the McKinsey Global Innovation Survey”

The Value Proposition in Business Models

… Topspin’s CEO, Ian Rogers, penned an open letter to Guy Hands, the head of (struggling) EMI, suggesting that rather than think of itself as a “record label” focused on promotion and distribution (two things that are easier and cheaper than ever before), it could instead focus on being the smart filter for music listeners today, struggling to find the music they love amidst so much musical abundance in the world. The suggestion was to take some of the key, iconic, bands under the EMI roof, and put them under affinity-based “mini-labels” with other less well known bands, that would appeal to people who liked the more well known band. It seemed like a great idea, which, of course, EMI has not done.

Here again, the value is created through filtering. And as with the Ferrari Market Newsletter, this model would then try to aggregate all of the bands that relate to each other in a specific way. This is a model that has worked very effectively for many years for Dischord Records – and like Masnick I think it has great potential.

Creating a novel value proposition is an essential part of generating an effective business model. There are great opportunities to do this in creative ways. If you focus on aggregating, filtering and connecting, you can build a good information-based value proposition.


This post was written by Tim

Anders Sundelin wrote a post earlier this week about the evolution of the business model concept. He does a great job of showing the various ways in which this idea has been operationalized – it’s still surprisingly fuzzy. For the state of the art thinking on business model innovation, a special issue of Long Range Planning has twenty articles on the topic (all free to download through September).

One element that is consistent across nearly all of the different ways of thinking about business models is that of the Value Proposition. A central part of building a successful business model is creating value for your customers. Innovation plays a role here in two ways: first, innovation is the process of executing new ideas to create value, so it is a central part of any new value proposition; second, we can innovate in the way that we create value, not just in the products, services or know-how that we offer.

In order to innovate the way we create value, it makes sense to look at how we create value from information. In general, we do this by aggregating, filtering and connecting. This works for big firms like Amazon, and smaller firms like O’Reilly Publishing.

I ran across two more examples of how this can work for smaller firms this week. The first comes from Seth Godin’s description of Gerald Roush and his Ferrari Market Newsletter. Here is the description of the newsletter:

The newsletter, it appears, was not just lucrative, it was a bargain. It chronicled the pricing, whereabouts and details of just about every Ferrari ever made. If you were a buyer or a seller, you subscribed. If you wanted to run an ad, you were required to include the car’s VIN, which added to Roush’s voluminous database.

The Roush effect involves extraordinary domain knowledge, a market small enough to understand and diligently earning the role of data middleman. The players in the market want there to be one clearinghouse, one authority who can connect the data, see the trends and publish the conventional wisdom. Leer más “The Value Proposition in Business Models”

The Problem of Defining Innovation


Hutch Carpenter just wrote a nice post outlining 25 different definitions of innovation. This is an interesting exercise. He breaks the definitions down into five sub-categories, which all reflect slightly different takes on the nature of innovation. Leer más “The Problem of Defining Innovation”

Using Innovation to Deliver on Strategy


Last week I ran an executive education course called “Strategy In Action“. It’s an intensive full-week course and we try to equip managers with ideas and processes that will help them to develop and execute strategy. As part of the course, I also arrange guest speakers who have examples of good strategy in their business or are interesting because of the way that they have overcome challenges in executing strategy. This execution focus matters. Like innovation, most strategies fail because they aren’t executed very well. Strategy analysis and development is where we tend to put the most effort but this is hardly ever where the problems occur. Leer más “Using Innovation to Deliver on Strategy”

Following Some Lines of Thought

Posted by Tim in innovation

I’ve run across a number of things that relate to recent posts, so I thought I’d put together a quick grab-bag selection today.

* Yesterday I talked about Naomi Simson and innovation at RedBalloon. One thing that I forgot to mention is that in addition to growing incredibly quickly and being very successful financially, RedBalloon is also consistently rated by employees and outside evaluators as being a great place to work. I was reminded of this when I read a post this morning by Matt Perez called Creating a Great Place to Work. Matt’s firm NearSoft was just named one of the Top 20 Great Places to Work in Mexico, which is a great achievement.

Being a great place to work is critically important when we are trying to make our organisations more innovative. As Dan Pink says in his book Drive, if we want creative (innovative!) work from people, we have to empower them, and give them the autonomy they need to come up with great new ideas. Compare that idea with NearSoft’s goal:

we just aim to create a culture that people want to be part of and an environment that people want to be work in. And we (all) work hard at improving and innovating on it every day.


Posted by Tim in innovation

we just aim to create a culture that people want to be part of and an environment that people want to be work in. And we (all) work hard at improving and innovating on it every day. Leer más “Following Some Lines of Thought”

Grassroots Innovation

Veronica Vera pointed me to a great talk by Anil Gupta from TEDIndia. He talks about grassroots innovation, and methods for getting ideas to spread in poorer regions. It’s a fascinating talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/851

Innovation in developing countries is a wildly unappreciated phenomenon – there are incredibly interesting things going on in places like India, China and Brazil. Some of them are built around finding innovative ways to provide goods and services to poorer people at much lower costs. Aravind Eye Care and the Tata Nano car are just two good examples of how this works.

Gupta is talking about something different though. He is not approaching poor people as consumers, but as inventors. This is reflected in one of the slogans of the Honey Bee Network – minds on the margin are not marginal minds. [Más…]


Veronica Vera pointed me to a great talk by Anil Gupta from TEDIndia. He talks about grassroots innovation, and methods for getting ideas to spread in poorer regions. It’s a fascinating talk:

Innovation in developing countries is a wildly unappreciated phenomenon – there are incredibly interesting things going on in places like India, China and Brazil. Some of them are built around finding innovative ways to provide goods and services to poorer people at much lower costs. Aravind Eye Care and the Tata Nano car are just two good examples of how this works.

Gupta is talking about something different though. He is not approaching poor people as consumers, but as inventors. This is reflected in one of the slogans of the Honey Bee Network – minds on the margin are not marginal minds. Leer más “Grassroots Innovation”