J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Start Your Journey of Innovation and Build a Culture of Great Innovation

Start Your Journey of Innovation and Build a Culture of Great Innovation

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In todays world, the mantra is innovate or die.

You’re either climbing ahead or falling backward … there’s no hanging out in the middle.

And some folks are actually leap frogging ahead.

Disruptive innovation is keeping everybody on their toes.

Whether you are re-imagining you or your company, or you are driving innovation in your process, product, or capabilities, there are skills you can learn to be a lot more effective in your innovation efforts.

It’s a crazy world where a One-Man Band can write an app, serve it up on the Cloud, and change the world.  It’s also a strange world where a little idea can be a big shot heard round the world.   It’s a scary thing for businesses when a handful of developers can spin up a new service in the Cloud and instantly make a business obsolete.

What can you hold on to in this crazy world?   What can you latch on to, if you want to rise above the noise, and instead of getting washed out by a wave, be the one that makes the waves?

There are several things, but I’ll boil them down to this:

  1. Use your customer as the North Star (and remember that some customers are better for you than others)
  2. Share and scale your unique value to the world
  3. Adapt or die

What happens to a super successful business or a super effective person when the landscape changes under their feet?

It depends on how they adapt Smile

Nature favors the flexible.  Darwin taught us that.

You have to get your bold on, and embrace innovation as your shiny sword to do battle against challenge and change, but most importantly, to create the change that serves you, and those you serve.

I’m taking a fresh look at innovation, as well as going back through hard, expensive lessons I’ve learned in the past.  Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, so my battle scars are a healthy reminder of the lessons I’ve learned on how we can use innovation to leap frog ahead, as well as change the playing field (heck with changing the game, change the field and be the disruptor.)

Believe it or not, Peter Drucker was a wealth of wisdom when it comes to innovation.  Many of you know him as the wise and wonderful professor of business and guru of management.   But when you read through a lot of his work, he was incredibly insightful and pragmatic when it comes to creating a culture of innovation.

Innovation Nuggets to Get You Started on Your Innovation Journey

I’ve got a ton of innovation books, but one that I’m really liking lately is Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes, by G. Shawn Hunter.   I’ve been sharing some nuggets from the book, and it’s been reminding me what it takes to build a culture of innovation.

If you want to start your innovation journey, and create a culture of innovation, here are a few posts to help you on your way:

3 Key Questions to Challenge Yourself to Innovate

3 Keys for a Successful Innovation

A Superior Product is Not Built from It’s Features

Beware of Benchmarking Your Way to Mediocrity

Energized Differentiation Separates Brands from the Pack

High-Leverage Strategies for Innovation

How Great Leaders Build a Culture of Innovation and Change

Incremental Changes or Disruptive Innovation?

Innovate in Your Approach

Innovation Life Cycle

Innovation, Quantification, and Orchestration

The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results

The Role of Process in Driving Reliable Innovation

Great Innovation Quotes to Inspire the Art of the Possible

If you need to remind yourself what innovation feels like or what’s possible, be sure to soak up some powerful words of wisdom:

Innovation Quotes

In my Innovation Quotes, I’ve also included a special section to light up what Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Walt Disney teach us about building a culture of innovation.

Let’s boldly go where we have not gone before.

  • Adapt or die is the highlight for me here.

  • @ Dragan -- It can be a slow death.

    In fact, it's often insidious.

    It can be quick, though, too.  Real quick.

    You'll see people going about business as if it's business as usual.

    And then the business is gone.

    As my friend put it, it can be like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    It's also a reminder why having "a sense of urgency" is a critical ingredient to change, as well as a key trait for survival.  

    It's all too easy to slide down the slippery slope of the status quo.

  • @ J.D Meier - Having "a sense of urgency" can also be the path to the end for some projects. I've been there :(

    Years ago I heard a great comment. "Fast but Slow". Slow in conception, Fast in Development. You know, sort out the nuts and bolts before you turn a key.  

  • @ Dragan -- And I believe Wooden put it as, "Be quick, but don't hurry."

    And I always like the classic saying: "Measure twice, cut once."

    There's always a balance between avoiding Big Design Up Front, and driving forward with experiments, little wins, and flowing continuous value.

    Daniel Gilbert and others have showed how we're bad at predicting.

    But when we pay attention and focus, we're great at learning and improving.

    I think a big issue is that people don't always have a simple shared view of the frame that everything else gets built on, or hinges on.  So while some people are putting the plumbing in place, others are doing interior decorating.  

    And this creates a fragile scenario, unless somebody is continuously connecting everything back to driving value to stakeholders and users.

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