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In my post about entrepreneurs, I mentioned how they don’t just create something better they create something different. Creating something new and different is innovation. Many might think that most innovations come from a spark of insight or a flash of brilliance (which no doubt they do—as well as repurposed mistakes). But, what we may not understand is that you, I, and entire companies can approach innovation systematically.

  • The first requirement is that people be measured and rewarded to encourage them to value change—not resist it.
  • Second, management must understand how much innovation will be required to sustain the business over a given period—as well as how many of their current products/services will be obsoleted in the same timeframe.
  • Next, a systematic evaluation of the changes in trends, customers, and the environment must be undertaken.
  • At the same time it is imperative that company’s performance as an innovator be measured and that rewards, relationships, job assignments, structural changes, etc. be adjusted accordingly.
  • Innovations should lead to customers being better served or allow them to do something they were previously unable to do.

More important than this abbreviated list for creating systematic innovation is the fact that once an idea is identified, people need to go to work. The old adage that (art, genius, success) is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration certainly applies.


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