Monthly Archives: January 2016

More and Better Ideas for Innovation

Our clients always generate more ideas by working with us, but the originality and value of those ideas varies fairly widely. What factors influence the creative output of an innovation project team?

Results are most affected by the native creativity of the team members. Some individuals are simply wired to come up with more ideas. These are the dreamers, the people with active imaginations. They are prolific ideators, but most of their ideas are infeasible, misguided and just plain bad! Still, it has been said that the best way to come up with a good idea is to come up with a lot of ideas and then eliminate the bad ones, so highly creative individuals will help you to reach your innovation goal.

The focus of the team members also affects results to a great extent. An employee who has spent his entire career in one industry may have a hard time questioning the conventional wisdom of that industry. He may be unable to shift focus from the technologies and products of his industry to consider related or even unrelated fields that could provide pathways to meaningful innovations in his field.

Another limiting factor is ambition, coupled by the ability to use math to gauge the potential value of an idea. At one of our sessions, a participant was passionate about his new product idea until he used our tools to calculate the potential market size. Even if it was a smash hit, the new idea would add very little to the company’s sales and profits. Teams produce big ideas when they make up their minds to produce big ideas, and when they are not willing to settle for less.

How do you select employees to work on your corporate innovation team? What traits and attitudes do you test for? If your employees are not as strong in some areas, which outsiders do you bring to the table? Feel free to comment below.

Additional reading on this topic: The Special People That Believe in You

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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Latest Trends in Corporate Innovation

Anthony Ferrier, CEO of Culturevate, has observed eight changes in the corporate practice of innovation in the US during 2015. What can we in India learn from his report?

1. Indian companies can improve on the culture front

Few organizations manage to create and sustain a culture of innovation, despite my claim that it is relatively easy to do so. Ferrier says that American firms made significant progress toward that goal in 2015. In India, our aversion to risk, our focus on short-term performance, and our strong allegiance to tradition have kept us from achieving much here. Tata and Future Group are shining examples. I hope that more organizations will join them in 2016.

2. Indian companies have a great opportunity in start-ups

Again, the largest Indian companies, such as Reliance Industries, are leading the way, allocating capital to promising new ventures. The venture capital mentality–expect to lose money on 80% of your investments but score big on 10%–does not sit well with risk-averse managers. In my view, the massive growth potential and the technology transfer and cultural boost that come with start-ups make this opportunity too good to pass up.

3. Indian companies avoided problems by not adopting open innovation

Ferrier notes that American companies have discovered how complicated it can be to manage open innovation. Indian firms, who largely avoided this type of initiative, were spared the costly learning. At the same time, some types of open innovation have positive cost-benefit ratios (

4. Indian companies have stuck with incremental innovation, for better or worse

Ferrier writes that US companies are pulling back somewhat from disruptive innovation and focusing on incremental improvements. The Americans now see that disruptive innovation is harder to achieve and much less certain. Most Indian companies have simply never pursued disruptive innovation. My advice is to have a portfolio of innovation projects to drive growth consistently with occasional spikes from extraordinary discoveries.

Link to Anthony Ferrier’s Article

Open Innovation






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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


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