10 Innovation Rules and what they mean for learning

Smart Lemming just put a post up on the book Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution.

  1. In all great innovation ideas, the great idea is only Chapter 1.
  2. Sources of organizational memory are powerful.
  3. Large established companies can beat start-ups if they can succeed in leveraging their enormous assets and capabilities.
  4. Strategic experiments face critical unknowns.
  5. The NewCo organization must be built from scratch.
  6. Managing tensions is job one for senior management.
  7. NewCo needs its own planning process.
  8. Interest, influence, internal competition, and politics disrupt learning.
  9. Hold NewCo accountable for learning and not results.
  10. Companies can build a capacity for breakthrough growth through strategic innovations

I would like to read the background around these 10 strategic items in more detail. It’s a good thing I’m headed over to Powell’s today, maybe I can find the book. However, I marked the ones which I feel are directly tied to learning and Knowledge Management assumptions about a company.

  • # 2 – Sources of organizational memory are powerful. If we’re collecting this information (on initiatives, product development, etc.) as part of a searchable Knowledge Management System, then employees can tap into this memory and benefit from it.
  • # 3 – Large established companies can beat start-ups if they can succeed in leveraging their enormous assets and capabilities. This is where connections (cross-disciplinary) and discussions are key. The biggest problem that ‘gigantor’ companies face is that it’s quite difficult to find out who’s doing what, or what they did.
  • # 6 – Managing tensions is job one for senior management. Amen! So part of management training should include how to recognize and address these tensions positively and practically. Part of the hiring process for senior management should include screening questions that insure that these candidates possess the ability/talent/knowledge necessary to manage tensions rather than perpetuating “YES MEN” environments.
  • #7 – NewCo needs its own planning process. The old one may need to reevaluate their business process for planning to insure that it’s working to make innovative products happen.
  • # 8 – Interest, influence, internal competition, and politics disrupt learning. Similar note to #6. CEO’s and all Management need coaching/training on how to lessen the effect of these things.
  • #9 – Hold NewCo accountable for learning and not results. I’m assuming that this means that we not punish teams for innovation/efforts that fail. Again, as part of a Knowledge Management initiative, it’s important to keep full not of the failures and why (and also who was involved – so that any team who might pick up the ball where the last one left of can benefit from the lessons learned).
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