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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Innovation Equality

by Tom Peters

Nobody disagrees with the fact that there are few things and maybe no things these days that are more important than innovation. I just want to add one small twist to that and it's what I call my Innovation Equality Act. And what I mean by that is, when we think of research and development, we almost always think of new product development. Well, here is my iron law, my request, my command, my rule:


Innovation and R&D budgets of significance are equally important in every single piece of the organization.


They are important in the logistics function. They are important in the purchasing function. They are important in the HR function. They are important in the finance function. That is, innovation (and R&D) is about every single nook and cranny within the organization. It's not just a marketing thing. It's not just a new product development thing. Think about it. An R&D budget in every training or HR department; it just doesn't happen very often, and that is genuinely, truly dumb.

You are just as likely or more likely to find that elusive competitive advantage in purchasing or HR as you are in an official engineering or marketing department.





What do you think?


Editor's Note: Tom Peters has just launched a new book "The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence" - click here for more information


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Tom PetersTom Peters is the author of "In Search of Excellence" and twelve other international bestsellers, and a consultant, columnist, seminar lecturer, and more at the Tom Peters Company

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

PR is about the story, not relationships

by Matt Heinz

PR is about the story, not relationshipsMaybe 10-20 years ago, PR was more about the relationships you had with the right press. Reporters and their publications were the gatekeeper to getting your story heard, and PR professionals were the gatekeeper to those gatekeepers. But even then, relationships were only as good (and ultimately as successful) as the story you had to offer.

Today, story matters more than ever. Yes, a good relationship with press helps you break through the clutter and get a few extra minutes to pitch your story. But a good story stands on its own.

Plus, you don't have to rely on a finite set of traditional media outlets to give your story a voice to the masses. Today, you can publish on your own. Self-publishing won't have the audience others have, but that's not the point. Share that story in a public forum, that both press and your direct customers/prospects/constituents can read, and a good story can get legs, find unique angles through other storytellers and redistributors, and be shared with countless others.

Traditional PR was about telling the story of the company in question. Press releases touted what a company recently accomplished. Those are stories, but not very interesting stories.

But it's more than just shifting focus from relationships to good stories. The stories that get noticed and retold today are about others. They're about the impact you have on your customers, their industry, and the people they work with in turn.

Tom Peters wrote recently that people don't care about your story. They care about their own story. Your job, he said, was to become a primary character in your customer's story.

So if PR today is about the story, and the best stories are about the impact you can have on others, how does that change the storytelling your organization is doing today? What do you say, where do you say it, and what do you want people who read or hear that story do next?


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Matt HeinzMatt Heinz is principal at Heinz Marketing, a sales & marketing consulting firm helping businesses increase customers and revenue. Contact Matt at matt@heinzmarketing.com or visit www.heinzmarketing.com.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Innovate or Die - Tactics #73-114 of 114

by Tom Peters

Skunk Works of InnovationIf the numbering in this post doesn't seem to jive with yesterday's, that's because the list of 110 tactics seems to have grown in the course of the week; we've adjusted accordingly.


Adhocracy. Love It or Leave It.
  1. Projects "emerge." Recall "spontaneous discovery process," our item #3. Most projects invent themselves, rather than being the product of a formal planning process; and their growth into something big is also mostly organic. An effective culture of innovation is largely ad hoc—which drives many senior managers crazy. If they can't "get it," then they don't belong.

  2. Leadership is on the fly. Things change rapidly. Teams are born and teams die. Yesterday's leader is today's follower - and vice versa. Developing "on the fly" leadership skills is no walk in the park. First, it must be perceived as a describable and learnable skill. (Hint: Women are better at this than men. Arguably, much better.)

  3. Plan-less-ness. If your organization chart "makes sense," then you probably don't have an innovative enterprise. Adhocracy requires letting go of linearity assumptions.

Skunkworks. Creating Parallel Universes. Invisible/Shadow Organizations.
  1. Parallel Universe/Unit within unit (School within a school). Big firms win in part through focus—which eventually means blinders that destroy them. The best way to innovate is often to create a Parallel Universe. It's effectively a "shadow company" with its own staffing, its own culture, in fact. As business schools saw the 2-year resident MBA decline, for instance, they sensed a rise in demand for executive education. But professors often balked. Smart schools set up schools within schools using new assets to experiment with and deliver exec ed. In many cases, the school-within-a-school was eventually re-integrated, but only after it had enough muscle to resist the regnant culture; in some cases the "shadow organization" eclipsed the traditional organization.

  2. Skunkworks at all levels. Lockheed invented the term "Skunk Works;" the Lockheed Skunk Works was a small unit, in Burbank CA, that used a totally unconventional approach to developing essential military aircraft in record time with an astonishingly small group of astonishingly motivated people. The generic "skunkworks idea" is a variation on #79 above. That is, a "band of brothers and sisters" who are contrarian in nature, determined to go their own way and do it their own way, and who stink-up-the-central-culture as they pursue what they believe is an earthshattering dream. For example, Apple boss Steve Jobs "left" his own company and set up a Skunkworks, complete with pirate flag proudly flying, to develop the first Mac—it took dead aim at the heart of the company's then-current (successful) product line.

  3. All Units/One-off projects. All units of all sizes should mount at least one "sorta Skunkworks," that is, separated bands pursuing no-fit, low-fit projects. Such a "band" may be one person in a 6-person department.

  4. Centers of Excellence. A more formal approach to important innovations is setting up "centers of excellence." For example, GlaxoSmithKline created 7 CEDDs, Centers of Excellence for Drug Discovery. Previously, GSK had used a huge functional organization to do its development work; now these CEDDs became self-sufficient units led by powerful project managers.

  5. Center of Excellence/Design. Design, writ large, is increasingly the route to product or service differentiation. Many companies are now beyond lip service, but a long way from fully incorporating design and experience creation into the heart of the company culture. One effective approach is a center of excellence with the avowed goal of nothing less than becoming a "hotbed" of global excellence - for example, Samsung followed this path and is giving Sony a run for its money.

  6. Center of Excellence/Women's market. Tom rant. Creating products and services tailored to women's desires is obvious as the end of one's nose - and still honored in the breach. Especially when the magnitude of the effort adds up to strategic repositioning of the enterprise as a whole. My advice: Don't mess around, get serious, win big.

  7. Center of Excellence/Boomer-Geezer market. Equivalent to #84 above. Market potential enormous. Will dominate for next quarter-century. Many "trying a few things." But strategic re-alignment more aptly suits the magnitude of the opportunity. My advice: Don't mess around, get serious, win big.

  8. Acknowledgement. This section is about acknowledging the limits of change in the regnant culture. Hence, creation of parallel, shadow, etc. organizations-within-the-organization becomes part of the "way we [necessarily must] do things around here." There are no guarantees of success - but the ideas are worthy of serious consideration in small organizations as well as large ones.

Decentralization. First Among Equals.
  1. Decentralize. #1 innovation strategy. Big company. Pretty small company.

  2. Keep decentralizing.

  3. Decentralize "before it makes sense."

  4. There is "decentralization," and then there is Decentralization. Beware the difference between "sorta" decentralization - and the real deal, à la GE or Johnson & Johnson or PepsiCo. Decentralization is an attitude as much as the shape of an org chart.

  5. Form a cadre of formal "centralization fighters" with muscle. Beware ICD, Inherent Centralization Drift. (This is a top management task.)

The Team at the Top. Diverse or Dead. Cherish & Demand Disrespect.
  1. Top team risk profile. You are what you eat. You are where you've been. A successful commitment to innovation will only come when the top team, in every function, has a l-o-n-g history of unflinching commitment to innovation.

  2. Top team CQ/Curiosity Quotient. Innovators are unhappy if new ideas are not the currency of their everyday affairs. While execution is paramount, catholic interests must be permanently in evidence. Curiosity may well have killed the cat, but the lack thereof is the bane of successful longterm organizational vitality and, indeed, survival.

  3. Board composition/Innovation experience. Boards must ooze with experience in and commitment to innovation. (Most don't.)

  4. Top team/Innovation coaches and mentors. Top team members in innovative enterprises take innovation personally - from the top to the bottom of the organization. Among other things, they act as mentors for innovation projects, including small ones three or four levels down in the organization.

  5. Women as leaders in project organizations. Women do better at adhocracy than men. Women do better with minimal hierarchy than men. Women do better with diversity than men. Women do better with shifting leadership that disobeys traditional ideas of power distribution than men.

  6. Top Team Calendar management. If you are an Innovation Obsessive, it will show up in unmistakable fashion on your Calendar. Calendars never lie. They are 100% accurate and visible indicators of your priorities. Micromanage them accordingly. Make your Innovation Obsession scream from your calendar! (There are few more powerful change levers.)

  7. Chief Forgetting Officer. Learning is a cakewalk. Forgetting is hell - particularly for "seasoned" successful executives. Therefore, the idea of "forgetting" per se is of perpetual strategic importance. Perhaps it should be formalized in the shape of a Chief Forgetting Officer?

  8. Diversity. Diversity. Diversity. (Rare in top teams! Fix it! Fast! It works! Especially when innovation is the goal!)

  9. Forward look. Beware offices (especially that of the Big Boss) and hallways and cafeterias awash in tributes to the past - even terrific ones like a Baldridge Award or a "product of the year award" from 1993, or even 2003; also dump the photos of you and famous "people of the past." When Steve Jobs re-arrived at Apple he tossed out all the models of yesterday's great "industry changing" computers - and replaced them with prototypes "from" tomorrow. Such "mere" "look and feel" stuff is potent medicine.

  10. Irreverence. Innovation is about changing course before it's absolutely necessary. Hence excessive reverence for the past is Public Enemy #1. Establishing a "culture of irreverence" at the top is far easier said than done. But done it must be.

Commitment to Excellence in Innovation. Or Bust.
  1. Innovation is fun.

  2. Innovation is a glorious way of life.

  3. Innovation is scary. (But what is life without risk? Living death!)

  4. Innovation is enthusiasm.

  5. Innovation is passion.

  6. Innovation is a matchless source of pride.

  7. Innovation is life at the speed of light.

  8. Innovation is an "all hands" game.

  9. Innovation is big.

  10. Innovation is small.

  11. Innovation is an iPod.

  12. Innovation is a Tuf-E-Nuf hammer.

  13. Excellence in innovation.

We can't all be Apple or Cirque du Soleil or Basement Systems Inc.
But we can damn well die trying.



Tom PetersTom Peters is the author of "In Search of Excellence" and twelve other international bestsellers, and a consultant, columnist, seminar lecturer, and more at the Tom Peters Company

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Innovate or Die - Tactics #43-72 of 110

by Tom Peters

CelebrationThis is the third of four parts of the list of 110 Innovation Tactics.
  • Click here to view Part One - Innovation Tactics #1-16

  • Click here to view Part Two - Innovation Tactics #17-42

Celebration!
  1. Celebrate! Innovative organizations are places where people enjoy their peers' work, good tries, good screw-ups, milestones reached, etc. Celebrating these events, large and small and very small, is a fullscale part of the "innovation culture."

  2. Celebrate failures. This peculiar form of celebration deserves particular mention. "Fast failure" is innovation's bedrock. Hence the encouragement thereof, rather than the stigmatization, is of paramount importance. Hence, the hearty celebration of the quick try run amok is of strategic importance.

R&D, Ubiquity of - "Staff Department" R&D Paramount
  1. R&D spending/Overall. This is a "boring" staple of innovation, but obviously of great importance. Aggressiveness is called for. In addition to the firm itself, having, say, a set of vendors, most or all of whom are top-quartile in R&D spending in their industry, is also of great importance.

  2. R&D/Big Co, Small Co. Aggressive R&D is not just the provenance of the big company. In fact, it is more important to the 2-person Professional Services Firm than the lumbering giant - talk about "Innovate or die"!

  3. R&D spending/Small projects. Make sure the R&D portfolio includes many one-off, short-term projects. (Quite often, these little fellas grow to become the biggest of the big.)

  4. R&D/100% Staff Departments. Aggressive R&D is as important in Finance and Purchasing as in IT or New Product Development!!!

  5. R&D/Systems! Innovative systems are as important as innovative products (witness Dell's 2-decade systems-driven run, which changed the world). Manage the hell out of this!

  6. R&D/Practice "Nudgery." Small system nudges can cause grand behavior changes. Become a "nudge aficionado." Teach Nudgery.

  7. "R&D" Play Money/Ubiquitous. The ability for virtually anyone to get their hands on a few bucks (and a mentor) to play around (right term) with a new idea is essential.

  8. Venture Funds/All levels. This can run to billions of $$ at Intel to much smaller sums, but the idea is casting a wide, speculative net.

  9. University support. Research universities are among America's most vital competitive advantages, and are likely to be so for decades. Associations, large and small, with universities are an important part of the innovative enterprise.

  10. "Sell-by" date, consideration of. Peddling old stalwart parts of enterprises when they become commoditized may help free the spirit of the enterprise to move toward a new playing field. (On the other hand, oldie goldies can surprisingly often become hotbeds of new innovation under inspired leadership.)

  11. R&D/good times and bad times. R&D may have to take its lumps in tough times like the present. But beware of cutting too much muscle. Moreover, bad times can be the perfect time to get the jump on competitors with innovations if at all possible. Tough times are also ideal for little R&D projects that might just grow legs.

The Essential Role of Lead Customers - Loving Angry Customers
  1. Lead customer portfolio. Innovation is not natural in the best of circumstances. Stasis is comfortable. Hence, we must force ourselves into uncomfortable circumstances. (I accept speeches to groups where I have no expertise.) Customers who are far from our norm are frontline change agents. We must formally create a portfolio of lead customers - and then commit to joint product development and connection in general. Again, this must be managed and not left to chance.

  2. Customers on all teams. Customers must pervade our electronic and physical halls. They must especially be part of all innovation teams.

  3. New network forms. Constantly experiment with new forms of networking with customers of all sizes and shapes.

  4. Pissed-off Customers Association. No group is more valuable than pissed off customers!! (Even, or especially, irrationally pissed off customers.) Make them part of the family. Shower them with love. Reward them for their contributions. Bring then into electronic and physical networks.

XFX/Cross-Functional Excellence - No Option
  1. XF Obsession. Implemented innovations generally (100% of the time?) include and are significantly shaped by contributions from all departments. Lousy cross-functional (XF) communication-cooperation-synergy-esprit is often Problem #1 in enterprises of all sizes. Thus a culture of innovation is dependent on constant-strategic-executive attention to XF effectiveness.

  2. XF Innovators. The heart of an innovation that goes in a wonderfully unpredicted direction is very likely to have come from a contribution by a "secondary"-to-the-project functional expert.

  3. XF Programs. Formalize numerous programs and nudges, small more important than large, to specifically and measurably attack-enhance-vivify XF effectiveness.

  4. XF Friendships (measurement thereof). It is this simple: Friendships across boundaries are the best lubricant there is. Foster them! Formally!

  5. XF-centrism in evaluations. Repeated XF obfuscation is a firing offense. XFX (cross-functional excellence) is cause for early promotion, hefty bonuses, etc. This part of the evaluation must have sharp teeth.

  6. XF/All teams. Foster cooperative XF involvement in activities of all sizes and shapes by all sorts of folks, even, or especially, when the need is not obvious.

  7. XF assignment as requisite career step. Promotion to relatively senior positions or above is dependent on at least one full XF assignment - e.g., a year or so tour of duty.

  8. XF/Finance. Get as many managers as possible to spend non-trivial time in finance, to develop a "business" perspective on their work - this is especially important regarding innovation activities.

Project Team Primacy - Project Managers Rule
  1. Project team as basic organizational unit. The largely independent project team, the coherent entity of 2, 21, or 212, is the basic building block of the innovating enterprise. This comes as no surprise, but must be underscored anyway. Innovation work is rarely accomplished via a routine grouping that follows the conventional org chart and involves members from various functions who remain under the jurisdiction of their traditional bosses. Obvious or not, innovating organizations are collections of energized project teams - with functional affiliations secondary.

  2. The excellent project manager is the Superstar of the innovation-centric enterprise. These are the small numbers of superstars who must be retained at almost any cost. And they do stand out as superstars.

  3. The development and care and feeding of your cadre of project managers is human resources Job #1. Effective project management is a peculiar discipline requiring a raft of skills, from the very hard to the very soft. Understanding the discipline and carefully developing project management skills is paramount to creating and maintaining a culture of innovation.

  4. Project manager cadre diversity is imperative. Period.

  5. Entire talent pool available to project managers. Creating a process, preferably Web-driven, for project managers to cobble teams together for the long haul or for a 48-hour project is essential. But remember to take into account the "soft stuff," and not over-mechanize the process.



Tom PetersTom Peters is the author of "In Search of Excellence" and twelve other international bestsellers, and a consultant, columnist, seminar lecturer, and more at the Tom Peters Company

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Innovate or Die - Tactics #17-42 of 110

by Tom Peters

Tom Peters, Innovation Tactics and LunchThis is the second of four parts of the list of 110 Innovation Tactics.
  • Click here to view Part One - Innovation Tactics #1-16

We Are What We Eat. (And Who We Hang Out With.)
  1. Hang out/"We are what we eat" We are what we eat/We are who we co-habit with, and variants thereof are of infinite importance to the effective innovator. Managing "the hang-out factor" is of the utmost strategic importance - and usually an under-tended lever.

  2. Hang out/Basic axiom. Hang out with weird - get more weird. Hang out with dull - get more dull.

  3. Hang out/Customer portfolio. Consider one's customer portfolio. Perhaps a few giant customers account for 85% of one's revenues. One must listen to them, but the odds are that these giants are relatively conservative. Hence one must purposefully and urgently recruit oddball-"on the frontier" customers. Their revenue stream may be limited, but these folks force you to play with novel products and services to meet their peculiar needs. Hence careful construction of the total customer portfolio is an essential practice.

  4. Hang out/Customers everywhere. Customers at various staff meetings, on various teams, etc.

  5. Hang out/Our folks at customer sites. Imbedded staff at lead customer locations. The success watchword is "intermingle."

  6. Hang out/Vendors/Outsourcing Partners Portfolio. Instead of a few "strategic suppliers," as important as they may be, one needs "far out" vendors and outsourcing partners whose innovations force you into an innovation mode. I.e., repeat #19 and #20 and #21 for vendors.

  7. Hang out/Locale (Hotbed). Company or unit HQ location is important beyond measure. Working in a "hotbed" (e.g., Cambridge MA and biotech) is an immeasurable spur to innovation. (Beware: Hotbeds eventually become lookalike and-or complacent - think Detroit, 1920 vs 1980-2008.)

  8. Hang out/Team placement. An offsite team in an innovation hotbed often takes on the attributes of a gang of on-the-make pirates. A team near a plant takes plant-derived considerations particularly seriously. Etc. Want weird? Start with consideration of locale.

  9. Hang out/Space management. Space management is arguably the singlemost important strategic lever. Designer moved next to the CEO? Design vaults up the importance scale. Etc.

  10. Hang out/Consultants Portfolio. Types of consultants brought in influences who we talk to-live with, how we approach problems. There are "hot" consultants, and "not-so-hot" consultants. Again, purposefully and strategically manage the portfolio.

  11. Hang out/Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing stands a good chance of radically changing the world of innovation! You simply must experiment vigorously. The tool is powerful, but the process is not automatic - it needs lots of thought and oversight. (And it applies to every nook and every cranny of the enterprise - and to small enterprises.)

  12. Hang out/Clubs, learning networks, etc. Electronic, physical, any and all formats. Turning the enterprise into a de facto university, with learning and growing honored and ubiquitous and fast and furious and fun, is the point here.

  13. Hang out/Staff. Where staffers live relative to their line customers is critical. A finance person imbedded in the logistics department, for example, changes both perspectives.

  14. Hang out/Lunchmates. Never waste a lunch!!!! Lunch is 5 opportunities per week, 220 opportunities per year, to get to know interesting outsiders, folks from other functions, customers, vendors, frontline staffers. This is remarkably important. "Lunch management," a "lunch culture" is not an amusing aside.

  15. Hang out/Meeting Attendees. We spend enormous amounts of time in meetings. Never waste a meeting. Invite interesting outsiders, folks from other functions, etc. (See #30 immediately above.)

Diversity Per Se. Sine Qua Non.
  1. Diversity/Every flavor/Management & Measurement. Diversity with a lower-case "d." Black, white, brown, purple ... tall, short ... North American, Asian ... public school, private school, no school ... etc. ... etc. (Etc.) Decision-making of every sort is far, far better with diverse views of any flavor. Period. I have come to view this as a gamechanger - for a 6-person project team, a 20-person company, a huge enterprise.

  2. Diversity/Hiring. Search every oddball corner of the world for interesting people. Hire dull, get dull results. (Duh.) (This holds across the board - and irrespective of the size of the enterprise.)

  3. Diversity/Freak Acquisitions. I'm an enemy of 99% of mega-mergers, and a vigorous ally of small acquisitions that allow skipping steps in obtaining interesting new pieces of the puzzle for an enterprise. This can be the purchase of an intriguing 2-person accountancy by a 15-person accountancy, as well as a small-acquisition overall strategy by the likes of Cisco Systems.

  4. Diversity/Promoting. Diversity of every stripe at every level, achieved by design. Remember, diversity-qua-diversity works.

100% Enthusiasts. 100% Innovators. HR = Supercool.
  1. "What do you think?" Innovation - an innovation culture engages one and all. (All = All.) Getting everyone to think about improvements small and large comes from, de facto, constantly asking "What do you think?" - perhaps the 4 most important words in the innovator's vocabulary. Treating every voice as valued yields more value from every voice.

  2. Hire enthusiasts. Innovation is about active engagement. The more enthusiasts, the more people want to "opt in" and fully engage. Enthusiasts are innovators almost by definition. (Or, at the least, non-enthusiasts are guaranteed non-innovators.)

  3. Promote enthusiasts. Enthusiasts are important in all roles. Enthusiasts as bosses is a "no option" imperative - if you want to create an "innovation machine" in organizations of any size.

  4. Innovative behavior is the best predictor of innovative behavior. Want to discover an innovator? Best test: a history as an innovator, apparent at the latest by, perhaps, age 10 or 12 or 14.

  5. Re-invent HR to be a Center of Innovative People. It's not that HR has to "support" a culture of innovation. HR must be a chief carrier of the culture of innovation, must model innovative behavior 100% of the time. An "innovation culture" in HR is arguably more important than an innovation culture in marketing and new product development. (Think about it.) (Alas, this is ever so rare.)

  6. Get the incentives right! Profitability, quarter by quarter, is essential - in organizations of all sizes. But a commitment to innovation as evidenced by the likes of share of revenue from products introduced in the last 24 months should be a major component of discretionary compensation. Equivalent measures must be developed for logistics, purchasing, HR, IT, etc. Incentive schemes must "speak" innovation.

  7. Get the evaluations right! Per #41 immediately above, the evaluation process must focus on risk-taking, innovations launched, "excellent failures" as one exec puts it. Department bosses might be evaluated by comparative innovativeness at similar departments in peer-competitor firms. Etc. Innovation-in-evaluation is a 100% affair.

If you missed Part One - Innovation Tactics #1-16 - Click here.



Tom PetersTom Peters is the author of "In Search of Excellence" and twelve other international bestsellers, and a consultant, columnist, seminar lecturer, and more at the Tom Peters Company

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Innovate or Die - Tactics #1-16 of 110

by Tom Peters

Innovate or DieRecession or no recession, deep recession or not, the challenge to add more and more value grows, and the importance of innovation, and a culture of innovation, grows exponentially. A "culture of innovation" covers "everything." There is no halfway. There, of course, are "first principles." Or are there? I started a list of "stuff" that's imperative to creating an innovative enterprise. The list of 10 or so grew to 25, then 45, and at the moment includes no less than 110 "tactics." Of course you can't do all of them. Or must you? Well, you can't do all 110, or maybe even half that number, but the absence of any one or two or three or six weakens and perhaps even imperils the entire structure. Use what follows as you will.

Trying Stuff. Screwing Stuff Up. Fast.
  1. Tries. Darwin rules. More stuff goin' on, more interesting-good stuff happenin'. Innovation is to a large extent a "numbers game": He-she who tries the most stuff wins. (Astonishingly true.)

  2. Culture of "Try it! Now!" Culture! Culture! Attitude! Attitude! Mindset! Mindset! "The way we do things around here." "Around here, we try things first, fix 'em fast, try again, talk about it later, when we've got something to talk about."

  3. Philosophy/F.A. Hayek/"spontaneous discovery process." Firm as market economy. New stuff emerges "spontaneously" from lots of trials and lots of errors. The innovator's life is life on the run, zigging here and zagging there - but always hustling.

  4. Failures encouraged/celebrated/cherished. Failure is the key to success. Period. Fast failure is the key to fast success. And so on. This must be "cultural" to the core.

  5. Transparency. All info on all these tries and cock-ups available to all to inspire, to chew over, to add to, to attract adherents and champions, etc.

  6. Connection/Ubiquitous. No barriers! Across-the-wall communication is as normal as breathing!

  7. MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around. An informal, in touch, high-camaraderie, on the move atmosphere underlies the "try it"-"screw it up"-"learn from it"-"fast" "culture."

  8. Fail to share yields "death penalty." Sharing-transparency are the innovation organization's lubricant; therefore those who hoard must get the boot.

  9. Fast prototyping/Serious play. Prototyping skills-attitude are more central than almost anyone can imagine. Entire organization as "playpen" with "playmates" gathering spontaneously to try stuff. Quickly. Quickly.

  10. Tempo/OODA Loop mastery/RFA. "Ready. Fire. Aim." is the premier cultural trait. Try it-learn from it-try it again-spread the news-recruit adherents-etc. The organization has a high metabolic rate ("metabolic management"), a rapid tempo. The Observe-Orient-Decide-Act cycle, invented by military strategist John Boyd, is quick and the quickness per se confuses one's competitors.

  11. FFFF/Find a Fellow Freak Faraway/"The Sri Lanka Strategy." Try cool-scary-risky stuff out in the boondocks, well away from HQ and typical HQ stuffiness. Find a playmate in "Sri Lanka" ready to give your idea a whirl; eventually, the network of Champions-from-the-boondocks become the premier carriers of the innovation.

  12. Demos/Heroes/Stories. Tries and screw-ups and sagas of bold champions become the "stories" that animate the organization - and induce everyone to climb aboard, play with vigor, or lose out.

  13. Social Networks. The emerging social networking tools become the accelerator for the process described and implied in these first dozen ideas. Nothing automatic about this - must be thought through, overseen (but also loose-as-a-goose, not judgmental). Emergent leadership from hither, thither, and yon becomes the de facto "leadership for innovation" in the organization.

Discipline. Accountability. Execution.
  1. Department of Sanity/"Dreamers with Deadlines"/Fiscal responsibility/Budget skills. Warren Bennis called hot groups of innovators "dreamers with deadlines." Innovation is not pie-in-the-sky, "let's all have a blast, yo my man, cool, eh?" in nature. There is a compelling and disciplined "execution" thread that is central to the innovating organization. The innovating organization is focused on "new stuff," "cool stuff" - but is pragmatic to a fault. The project "budget and milestones guru" is as honored as the true believer-dreamer-champion.

  2. Department of Sanity/Accountability. Screwing up, for instance, is essential to innovating. But there is as much accountability around screwing up as there is around inventory management in a traditional outfit; that is, the innovator takes responsibility for the screw-up and for insuring rapid learning and dissemination of lessons learned and for mounting the follow-up experiment posthaste.

  3. Department of Sanity/Implementation training. Execution and Implementation are paramount skills, highly rewarded and cherished. Bunkmates to the end.



Tom PetersTom Peters is the author of "In Search of Excellence" and twelve other international bestsellers, and a consultant, columnist, seminar lecturer, and more at the Tom Peters Company

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Announcing our Newest Contributor - Tom Peters

Tom PetersWe are happy to announce our newest contributor to Blogging Innovation - management guru and best-selling author - Tom Peters. In the weeks to come, we will be bringing you the best of Tom Peters' thinking on innovation and other topics relevant to Blogging Innovation's mission to make innovation and marketing insights accessible for the greater good.

If there are other authors you would like see here on Blogging Innovation, please let us know.



Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.

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