I have my own theory of innovation. Almost everyone agrees that innovation is a key ingredient in growth and prosperity but in our current times, few companies are able to cause it to happen. I think that’s because people misunderstand innovation, and particularly how to get it going. With all the belt-tightening going on as the result of lean times, innovation could not be more essential, but at the same time, seemingly more out of reach.
In my view, there are three main stages to innovation: experimentation, enlightenment and transformation. Experimentation is the most assured pathway to innovation but it is also one of the first things to get cut when belt-tightening occurs. It requires an organization to spend time on lots of things that eventually get discarded because they end up never taking root. To an accountant, experimentation looks a lot like “play-time” activity that isn’t needed. Innovation can occur without an experimentation stage, but reliance on “bolts-out-of-the-blue” to kick-start innovation will ensure that you will almost never actually get there.
Enlightenment is nothing more than an improved understanding of reality. It occurs when a series of experiments from the experimentation stage are accepted by a group as having special significance because they reveal a part of reality that was previously hidden from view. Enlightenment is the removal of blind-spots. Once the blind-spots are removed, easier or more profitable paths become more obvious—or at least one of them becomes less foggy.
To actually benefit from enlightenment, and thus achieve the final stage of innovation, transformation, you need Continue reading Innovation and the “Authenticating Wholesaler” Idea