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Innovation Insights
by Stephen Shapiro

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Tip 1: Not Survival of the Fittest – Survival of the Adaptable

We are about 40 days away from the relaunch of Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition.

Therefore, each day leading up to its publication, I will share highlights from one of the tips.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Tip 1: Not Survival of the Fittest – Survival of the Adaptable

The key to surviving and thriving is nimbleness. It’s not about the size of your organization but rather your ability to adapt, evolve, and change as needed.

To drive consistent change, most organizations go through three levels:

Level 1: Innovation as an Event: This is where most companies find themselves. They conduct brainstorming sessions or hold random contests to generate new ideas. If a good idea is produced, some value is added to the organization. In some cases, the idea may even lead to tremendous value. However, a considerable amount of work generally needs to happen between idea generation and its realization.

Level 2: Innovation as a Capability: This is the next level of sophistication. The organization puts in place structures and processes to define problems, generate and evaluate solutions, and develop action plans to implement those solutions. The result is a realistic deliverable based on an organizational challenge or opportunity.

Level 3: Innovation as a System: The ultimate level involves creating an environment where innovation is embedded in everything you do. At both the event- and capability-driven levels, innovation tends to be reactionary and discrete. It is somewhat separate from the business. With embedded innovation, people not only innovate to deal with “problems or challenges” that are presented to them but with everything they do. They continuously, even radically, improve their products, processes, and organization. This creates exponential and ongoing value.

The tip then continues with strategies moving up through these levels.

And then tip 2 digs deeper into Level 2.