First Friday Book Synopsis

"…like CliffNotes on steroids…"

Innovation, Innovation Everywhere – and Not a Drop to Drink in so many companies/organizations


The jury came in long ago.  No change, no innovation = real trouble for any and every organization.

From Gary Hamel, What Matters Now (notice the subtitle:  How to win in a world of relentless change, ferocious competition, and unstoppable innovation):

Innovation isn’t a fad—it’s the real deal, the only deal. Right now, not everyone believes that, but they will…
“Change has changed” – truly, faster change; more change… Leaders must ask, “are we changing as fast as the world around us?”

Yet, the next jury is also coming in – we are slipping in the innovation department.

I have written so many times on this issue.  And I think we do wrap a lot of different items under the overall umbrella of innovation.  Creativity; constant improvement; updates; upgrades; version 2.0, 3.0. 10.0…  the list is endless.

But it all boils down to this.  If you have a perfect product, then leave it alone.  (Are there any?).  But if not, keep improving, keep tinkering, keep tweaking, keep innovating.

If you have a perfect process, then leave it alone.  (There are even fewer of these!).  If not, keep improving, keep tinkering, keep tweaking, keep innovating.

So, I write about this, I think about this, I present on this – and yet I (yes, me – Randy Mayeux) either forget to do it, or simply don’t want to do it.  I don’t change, innovate, upgrade, update.  I have my routines, my practices, my habits…  and so I keep doing things in yesterday’s ways, and I could clearly do so much better.  Laziness rears its ugly head again.  As Scott Peck wrote years ago, laziness is our biggest enemy.  It’s not that we don’t work.  It’s that we work in the same old ways – we are too lazy to pursue the new, the different, the next better thing, the next better way.  There is new software out there, new web-based tools to embrace, that would be really useful for me to use.  I don’t want to take the time to learn how to use these.  There are new skills to learn.  I don’t want to take the time and effort to develop them.  And so much more…  the list is large, and growing, and goes on and on.

In other words, we (including me) really do like to do our work, and live our life, the way we have done our work and lived our life.  And so, we fail to innovate.  And, so many people in so many companies are just like us…

I read this on Andrew Sullivan’s blog:  Is The Era Of Big Innovation Over?.  It links to a couple of articles discussing whether or not the big innovations are over.  (We don’t have colonies on Mars.  We don’t fly around with Jetsons-like jetpacks).  He links to Nicholas Carr (author of The Shallows), and his article The hierarchy of innovation.  Carr thinks we are now innovating more internally.  He writes this:

As we move to the top level of the innovation hierarchy, the inventions have less visible, less transformative effects. We’re no longer changing the shape of the physical world or even of society, as it manifests itself in the physical world. We’re altering internal states, transforming the invisible self. Not surprisingly, when you step back and take a broad view, it looks like stagnation – it looks like nothing is changing very much.

And Carr proposes an “innovation-adapted Maslow’s hierarchy.”  It’s pretty interesting  Click on the image to take a look..

Click on image for full view

Think about the two worlds of innovation.  There is the big, big world.  The folks who will be coming up with mass-produced, inexpensive, driverless cars that will be fueled by garbage and fingernail clippings and thus keep the air cleaner and the planet more beautiful.  Or the electricity that will be provided without the use of coal but with massively powerful solar panels built into our sunglasses.  You know, the big, big innovations that will really change the world.

But there is also the small, more accessible world.  My life, my job, the processes I follow…  what am I doing to take the next big, big step in my small, small world?

It will be in the thousands of little innovations that we develop a true culture of innovation.  And that is a culture we need to feed, applaud, and immerse ourselves in.

So – what about you?  Is there a new software or web based-tool to learn, that would be really useful and make you more effective, more productive?  (The answer is yes, by the way.  This week, I’m working on learning how to use Trello effectively).  Start today.  Is there a process in your job to streamline?  Start today.  Is there a better way to respond to your own customers?  So, learn it, do it…start today.

If you don’t join the innovation party, and keep at it, the world may simply pass you by.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - Posted by | Randy's blog entries | , , , , ,

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