The Busy Leader’s Simple Guide to Innovation – Part 2

The Busy Leader's Simple Guide to Innovation - Part 2

An overview of some key established and emerging innovation concepts for leaders

By Gaia Grant

Part two of this innovation guide will outline a few key terms and concepts regarding innovation methodologies, processes and focus, which can be helpful to understand when navigating innovation. You can find the part 1 of this article here.

Innovation Methodologies: Lean + Agile

About the terms. ‘Lean’ and ‘Agile’ are principles-based approaches to new product development which focus on rapid experimentation rather than elaborate planning. Lean innovation involves identifying customer feedback early, based on the development of a ‘minimum viable product’ prototype, it is believed that development can be targeted and waste can be minimized. Agile is a contrarian approach to innovation management that prioritizes simplicity, rapid iteration, and validated learning. Agile Innovation builds on these lessons and focuses on an execution, not control, based approach to generating new business offerings. Why you need to know. The Lean and Agile approaches provide managers with simple and effective tools to leverage cheap resources and technology and rapidly test and validate ideas.

Innovation processes: Design Thinking + SID

About the terms. A few processes have been established that aim to identify the key modes required for innovation, and to reveal how to make the journey from imagination to implementation. Design thinking is a relatively recently popularized approach to the innovation process that puts the client at the centre of a solution through a ‘human-centric’ focus and emphasizes the need for prototyping. The process provides an ideal to work towards, using evidence-based decision making to deliberately circumvent the status quo. “Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving.” – IDEO Strategies for Innovative Development (SID) is a model that focuses on identifying the cultural foundations along with the mindset and creative thinking skills that need to be utilized at each phase of the innovation process. The SID model draws on Creative Problem Solving (CPS) and design thinking tools for effective innovation development. Why you need to know. These processes enable innovators to combine human needs and relevant business factors for effective creative problem solving. By embedding and reinforcing these processes in the organization, everyone develops the competencies and the opportunities to solve challenges creatively.

Innovation focus: Open + Closed

About the terms. There has been a shift from the idea that innovation is competitive and new ideas should be kept secret, to the realization that more challenges can be solved through open collaboration. Closed innovation describes the traditional approach whereby all ideas and resources are kept internal and proprietary. Open innovation practices seek to leverage both internal and external ideas, alternative channels to market, and shared resources to create a compounding effect across industries. Tesla’s shared patents are a great example. Why you need to know. There has been a shift to open innovation and the ‘sharing economy’, which have the potential to become a means for creating more just and equitable ways of innovating. More open approaches have been found to be linked with high employee motivation and engagement.

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  • Best practice implementation strategies to develop a sustainable innovation culture.
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About the author

Gaia Grant, Co-author of "The Innovation Race" bookGaia Grant is a lecturer and doctoral researcher at the University of Sydney Business School in the Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, focusing on research into innovation paradoxes and ambidexterity for socially responsible and sustainable innovation. Gaia is also the Managing Director of Tirian International Consulting, the co-author (with Andrew Grant) of a number of books including ‘The Innovation Race’, and a consultant and keynote speaker. Gaia worked on the academic research with Professor Martin Dowson, who is a Doctor of Psychology and Director of Academic Development at Excelsia College also completing a doctoral dissertation on Philosophy at Macquarie University. For more information see The-Innovation-Race.Com.

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