Innovation is an analytical process that involves more than just the creative few on your team…
When you think about innovation, there are usually a few creative people on your team that you turn to first for a conversation. But if those few individuals are valued more than others, you’re missing a huge opportunity. The reality is, every person in every department and function is part of the innovation team. It is not limited to right-brained creative people.
Don’t make the mistake of excluding all the people who can greatly contribute to your organization’s innovation efforts: left-brained analytical people. Engineers, technologists, accountants, lawyers, and the like. (I’m an engineer by education and a self-proclaimed left-brained nerd. And while the left-brain, right-brain dominance concept has been debunked, I find it useful to describe the different ways people think.)
Innovation is a process that starts with an important problem or opportunity and ends with something that adds value. It is not just about how many ideas you come up with, which is often equated with creativity.
To make sure your innovation efforts succeed, try involving the analytical people on your team in these three ways.
1. Focus on the right problems.
Innovation starts with data. You want to make sure you are solving the right problems and analytical people are best positioned to help you answer some important questions. What data will help you identify the greatest returns on your investment? Where can you get the most value with the least amount of effort? What will give you a sustainable competitive advantage? To know if you are targeting the right opportunities, you need information. The best people to provide this are your left-brained number crunchers.
I’ve been asked, “How long did it take to write the book?”
The answer is, “It depends.” It depends on how you look at it.
December 2 – 10, 2018, I locked myself in a hotel room and started working on the book. Although I left the hotel with the first version of the manuscript, it took a lot longer to write than just one week. In fact, upon reflection, the book took nine years to write and publish. Hopefully this article will serve as inspiration (and education) to others who want to publish a book. Enjoy!
March 2011: I submitted the final manuscript to Penguin for Best Practices are Stupid. It covered a wide range of topics related to innovation: strategy, organization structures, measures, technology, and more. One particularly important topic was the need to ask better questions. Although I addressed why this was critical, I realized I never give readers specific tools on how to do this.
April 2011: Almost immediately after submitting the manuscript, I conceived the concept of a “Challenge Toolkit.” The idea was to create a database of “lenses” that would help people reframe their challenge statements. The database would be supported by flashcards, videos, and an expert system. The intention was to create a product that would enable users to master the process of asking better questions, taking what I did naturally and systematize it.
May 2011: I created a spreadsheet cataloging a number of lenses. Over time I added to it, collecting dozens of them. The list grew over time. Admittedly, some were better than others. Continue reading >>
When you buy a book, you have options: print book, e-book, or audio book.
But did you know that soon you will have the opportunity to buy video books?
I’m working with Primeau Productions to create this new product for Invisible Solutions. It is like an audio book that includes elements for visual learners such as b-roll, graphics, animations, and highlighted words. Music and sound effects enhance the experience.
I am pleased to share the first 3:30 of the video book for Invisible Solutions. For those who know me, you’ll get a kick seeing me in nerd glasses and a bowtie.
To find better solutions, the key is to stop looking for solutions. Instead, you want to look for better problems/opportunities. Only when you identify the “right” problem can you consider potential solutions.
In this 1 minute 42 second video, I explain the power of the reframe.
Contrary to popular belief, innovation is not a right-brained creative endeavor. It is a left-brained analytic process. In this 2 minute 36 second video, I provide background on why I believe this to be true.