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.

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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”