The different innovation flavors and terms are confusing and oftentimes are only used to distract from an inability to innovate. But what is the meaning and how can you focus on genuine innovation.

Groundbreaking vs. Disruptive innovation

Those two flavors of innovation are rather close. Yet, when looking under the hood, there is a slight difference.


1) Disruptive Innovation assumes creating a new market that will eventually disrupt existing players in related existing market segments. Indomie noodles for instance created an all-new market in Africa. The automobile is another example of disruptive innovation, creating an entire market that displaced coaches and other transportation. On the one hand, the opportunity to create a new market is becoming smaller and smaller. On the other hand, disrupting existing markets is exponentially growing as most technologies or products reached an age that it is time to completely rethink what is out there.

2) Groundbreaking Innovation does not necessarily create a new market but breaks new ground in an existing market as well as possibly create a new market. Groundbreaking Innovation is always disruptive whether it is in a new or existing market. Tesla is a great example as the car market existed but is newly defined by Tesla. Same with Space-X. It existed and was developed by NASA and others, but was newly defined through disruptive technologies by Space-X. Apple’s iPhone is another example. The phone market existed but Apple disrupted that market with groundbreaking innovation, the iPhone. Groundbreaking innovation is always disruptive. Groundbreaking innovation is simply not limiting innovation to a specific case but genuine innovation in general. The personal computer did not disrupt the computer industry, even though it thought it would. Instead, it created an all-new computer market. Groundbreaking innovation addresses innovation needs to disrupt a market or create new markets. A nap cafe for a 20 min sleep for instance would not disrupt anything but create an additional and new groundbreaking business segment.

Groundbreaking innovation is not limited to new or existing markets. Radical innovation is similar to groundbreaking innovation but is focused on addressing existing markets.

Fake Innovation Flavors & their Risk

There are floating many more flavors of innovation such as gradual innovation, architectural innovation, and improvement innovation. Breakthrough innovation is described as an innovation from within a company that pushes something to the next level and can be considered similar to gradual innovation. These flavors of innovation are a big risk to innovation because all it is just an improvement. Gradual innovation, improvement innovation, or architectural innovation do not produce genuine innovation. Moreover, they bear a high innovation risk because they make those who are trying to innovate believe that the result is a type of innovation. However, if a competitor develops a genuine innovation, stays under the radar for a while, and disrupts that market segment, the fake innovation will implode immediately and the disrupter enters the market without any problem.

Most consumers cannot differentiate between innovation types and they do not care – there is no reason to even look at it. They chose the best product for them. With large business customers, it’s a bit different but still like consumers they are not impressed.  The financial market however looks more closely than ever before at what the innovation effort is, as they calculate valuation based on the long-term effects of innovation. Fake innovation is not only immediately uncovered, it leads to extra distancing from the brand because the company either does not understand what innovation is or purposely faking innovation. Both have very negative connotations.

Recommendations

  1. Stay away from using gradual, architectural, improvement, or other fake innovation types. It does not help in any way and is not really innovation.
  2. Ask yourself what would be a possible disruption to your business and how can you pre-empt a possible disruptive attack? The answer is simple: Be the one who moves first and don’t allow a position of following others.
  3. Learn more about ideation, deep innovation design, the innovation duality of brilliant ideation, and relentless execution.
  4. Develop an innovation strategy that addresses the terminology, how to achieve innovation, c-level empowerment, team composition, budgets, and more.
  5. Reach out to the BlueCallom team and ask for free advice or even better participate in a free Innovation Readiness Assessment.

 

400 Million businesses (OECD) may look for a total of 100 Million Innovation Managers during this decade.

100 Million Innovation Managers

Of course, at first sight, it sounds ridiculous. Yet if you take the number of registered businesses around the world plus the enormous growth rate of new businesses it is relatively easy to imagine that 25% of those companies, no matter how small they are, will want at least one person that works on innovation concepts. The fortune 20,000 however, is more like hiring Millions on their own. Of course, there is room to debate the number in both directions. If we consider a 3% investment in innovation, the numbers could also move further up. Who would have thought just 10 years ago that in 2020 we will have 1.5 Billion websites live? And an estimated 100 Million webmasters are handling them.

Gameover for romantic ideation dreams

Now, since we know how the brain is actually composing, processing, and fine-tuning ideas, we can begin strategic innovation management. We know that no idea ever composed was by accident. We know that brainstorming can’t create a single disruptive business model. We know that disruptive innovation takes on average 6 weeks to create. It will not happen in a week nor will it take longer than 12 weeks. With amazing predictability comes manageability but most importantly readiness to invest. Constructing an innovative idea is no longer much different from architecting a new skyscraper. Both have a predictable outcome. All that is opening up new investments. 100 Million Innovation managers become more and more a realistic number.

Now is a good time to build up your experience.

BlueCallom launches its Innovations Management Academy with an orientation webinar on Jan 7 and Jan 18. https://bluecallom.com/certified-innovation-manager-orientation/ We will help innovators, managers, and executives to get their arms around the many counter-intuitive aspects of an innovation lifecycle. It’s already hard enough to find top talents. And that will get even harder in the next few years. Having experience will remain to be a top value in an innovation career. “How many innovation projects did you complete?” “What methods did you use?”. To compete with 100 Million others for a job is equally challenging as trying to get top talents competing with 100 Million other businesses. We interviewed shrimp farm owners in Vietnam, street dealers in Cambodia, car repair shops in Nigeria, and 50+ more businesses. The owners are on average 25, graduated from their local University, and are smart enough to understand that our world is changing very fast. The shrimp farmer considers an AI system to manage the population, the car repair shop an e-commerce system for parts sale, and the street dealer a mobile app to push their daily harvest of ultra-fresh food to sell it the same day. Each one of the innovative concepts is simple at first glance, yet powerful enough to force all their competitors to follow.

Starting January 25, the new BlueCallom Innovations Management Academy will offer four major programs:

Deep Innovation Design Champion – learning all about the methodology
Deep Innovation Design Specialist – applying the acquired knowledge in a project
Innovation Manager – learning to run a full-size innovation project
Innovation Executive – knowing what you can expect from your team

You will find all details here: https://bluecallom.com/imacad/

100 Million Innovation Managers

Neuro Innovation – How ideas get created

Neuroscience had the single biggest impact on our modern understanding of innovation, in particular Neuro Innovation. One key aspect is the realization that ideas don’t come randomly and there are no “magic ideas out of the blue”. The brain composes ideas from past experiences and those compositions represent the power and the limit of our creativity.

Linear vs. Lateral

Your innovative brain thinks lateral. Your logical brain thinks in linear processes. That’s why almost all business tools are built in a linear manner – step by step.  But in recent years one business process has sneaked into our business life: INNOVATION. Yet, this creative process is still handled in a linear way: step by step. For instance “Empathize”, “Design”, “Ideation”, “Prototyping”, and “Testing”.  To make it more flexible, iteration is part of the process but that is still between modules and still not lateral.

Every idea ever created

Knowing how the brain is actually composing, processing, and fine-tuning ideas, has a profound impact on any type of innovation management process. Today, we know that every idea ever created, was a composition of past experiences. Our brain cells or neuron cells can not create any new idea from scratch. We also know that brainstorming has never created a single disruptive business model. We know that disruptive innovation takes on average 6 weeks to create. It will not happen on any hackathon weekend.

Deeper insights are provided during the education programs of the BlueCallom Innovation Management Academy.

Let us now explore the 10 things that change with Neuro Innovation.

1) Lateral Thinking

The good news is that we do not need to train anybody with lateral thinking. It is an integral part of our brain’s superpower. All we need to do is creating awareness of what exactly lateral thinking is and how it behaves. Simply speaking, instead of looking at things in a linear process (step by step | learn and repeat), we look at things in parallel and don’t repeat or iterate until it works. When you drive a car you steer the car, look at the street, once in a while in the rear mirror, on the speedometer, hear music, keep an eye on the remaining fuel, look at the scenery – all at the same time. Your conscious, sub-conscious, and motoric minds, work all in parallel. When you watch movies, you follow the story, wonder if certain things are possible, manage emotions, listen to theatrical music, and more.  When you THINK – any thought – you do that in parallel. When you “create”, meaning build and craft anything your brain works many tasks in parallel. Lateral thinking is a very fast back and forth of thoughts, verifications, and more.

Innovation is taking lateral thinking to perfection.

Attempts to make innovation, in particular ideation, a linear process is a perfect way to kill the outcome. The major episodes in the innovation process are linear and one builds on top of the other, but within the episodes, lateral thinking is the way to go. And one group of humans does it pretty well: startup-teams.
Creating a lateral thinking environment.

2) What should we innovate?

Instead of watching competitors – a far more effective way to innovate is to watch customers. The first question an innovation team should have an answer for is where and for whom they innovate. We know that disrupters could come from anywhere and can change the way an industry segment does business in just a very short period of time. But there is absolutely no magic involved. They simply found out what the respective audience has trouble with – whether they can articulate it or not. So why not do the same for your business? Moreover, you sit right in this market. The best way to find out is to conduct very specific research in your market. No questionnaire and no interview with countless questions. Just a well-guided casual conversation.
Creating leaders not followers

3) Innovation instead of improvement

instead of settling with improvements – focus exclusively on disruptive innovation. In our research, we discovered that the only difference between searching for a disruptive innovation versus settling with an improvement is the time and the way we interact with our brains. So there is no reason to accept an improvement if you can get to disruptive innovation. The first step is to get rid of brainstorming. While brainstorming was a great first step in leveraging the brain in the ideation process, it produced only very obvious ideas. And instead of hoping for a great idea that may strike you like a lightning bolt – our brain is able to get to amazingly disruptive ideas over a sequence of sessions that stimulates new and different searches. The final composition with a highly diverse team can be reached in 4 to 8 weeks of very specific exploration tasks.
Getting truly creative literally and laterally ;) 

4) Leveraging thousands of ideas

Instead of selecting one or only a few ideas from brainstorming – Neuro ideation produces thousands of ideas and idea pieces during a project. You will want to use them all – and you should. A complete disruptive innovation concept has never been just a single idea. Aggregating thousands of inputs including idea pieces, opinion, customer feedback, and research data can no longer be managed with colorful stickers and whiteboards.  You will need computer power to capture all the data, rate and rank them, sort and store them, and finally, analyze them. Looks like work but billion-dollar businesses do not come for free.
Creating full concepts not only ideas

5) In-market idea validation 

Instead of random experimentation in a lab – validate the “idea-success-fit” in your market. There is no better validation than exploration sessions with future clients. The added value of having your audience not only help validate the idea but also help shape it to the real-world application is priceless. To this point, there was not wasted a single penny in prototyping, experimentation, or testing. And please do not fear that somebody can steal your idea. Only weak and obvious ideas can be stolen. Little improvements can easily be stolen, so keep them for yourself – but please do not call them innovation.
Not wasting time, nor money

6) Innovation comes with team diversity

Instead of working only with experts – assemble a highly diverse innovation dream team. Having more of the same experience is of no value in innovation. But having a greatly diverse team brings far better results than the best expert team in the world. Experience diversity is the new order in innovation. On top of all, involve your customers and business partners in the process.
Producing the best possible outcome

7) Market born products

Instead of building prototypes and testing them in labs, use a unique “market born” product design method.  A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that shows only one feature is more important than a shiny but mediocre improvement. There is no lab that can compete with real user experiences. A lateral collaboration model with your customers and early adopters is bringing you more insights faster than any internal team ever can.
And still – no funding needed so far

8) Innovation financing

Current estimates show that 90% of innovation projects won’t make it to get funding. And the more innovative and disruptive a concept is, the less likely the approval to go forward. This, theoretically insane behavior, stems from the way disruptive ideas get perceived. In particular, finance people are conservative thinkers. Therefore, at last, one finance person should be part of the innovation team. Collaboration with the finance department on a bi-weekly cycle is highly suggested. Also here, neuroscience is an important guide on how to involve the executive bench in innovation projects to prime their thinking with what you are doing. Keep in mind that the next billion-dollar product line will need maybe a 100 million and more investment over time. To get such a financial commitment, the innovation management system must provide an extraordinary set of data to be able to defend an innovative concept. The fifty most innovative businesses from the past 20 years consumed more than $500 Million in funding before they became profitable. And investors worked with the management team on a weekly or monthly basis.
CFOs need relevant financial data – and learn to be an investor

9) Innovation to market

Instead of conventional market introduction, leverage neuroscience to select perfectly matching early adopters for creating a successful path into global markets. Innovative products will NEVER be purchased by 75% of your customer before the first 5% of early adopters got very excited. Most industry segments fail to innovate even with extraordinary solutions because they never had to do this in the past 20+ years. When IBM decided to go with an innovative computer into the market, they created a completely autonomous company: the “red IBM” but still did not manage to really scale it.
What every startup does due to the lack of a customer base

10) Executive level reporting

Executives need to understand every process in an enterprise – no matter what. And the way this is done today is simply through data. The Deep Innovation Design process, when run with the corresponding software provides on average 25,000+ data points to analyze and feed an entire KPI framework. When moving from LINEAR to LATERAL thinking and corresponding methods, we gain an incomparable amount of data. The data ranges from real-time budget consumption along the way, various timelines such as Time-to-Innovate TTI, Time-to-Validation TTV, Time-to-Market TTM, and ROI data that may be even dynamic based on the progress. The data also deliver qualitative data such as Ideation-Network data measuring the degrees of ideation connections and ideation stacks as well as quantitative data like idea contribution volume, contributor network size, or idea validation levels and volume, and more.
Neuro innovation and lateral thinking are the two keys to profoundly different innovation data.

10 things that change with Neuro Innovation

All in all, some of the topics in Neuro Innovation have not even been part of the conventional innovation processes, so that means no change, only additional learning. In other words, we don’t touch existing neuro pathways but help build new ones. Summarizing the new ones:

  • What should we innovate?
  • Innovation Financing
  • Innovation-to-market

Neuro Innovation is a key factor in ideation, idea validation, innovation financing, and innovation-to-market processes.

Deep Innovation Design Training

All the above is part of a new, one-week training: Deep Innovation Design Champion starting Feb 22
See the full program here:

https://bluecallom.com/bcdm-training/

Innovation is no serendipity – Earth is no disk. :)

 

The name Deep Innovation Design Training indicates the difference: DEEP. Far deeper than any other innovation method so far. And instead of being more complicated, the Deep Innovation Design model makes innovation actually more easy and far better to manage, finance, and execute.

Uncovering why truly groundbreaking innovation was so hard and so rare:
1) Not really knowing how innovative ideas can be created.
2) Then, being forced to random experimentation, pivoting, and failing.
3) Not realizing that the relationship with users holds one of the most important keys to innovation.
4) Therefore, not really knowing what the ideal innovation team composition should look like.
5) Failing to create a robust, market-based concept validation.
6) Lacking the skills to present groundbreaking concepts for c-level approval.
7) The first 6 items makes it nearly impossible to create KPIs that allow creating a genuinely manageable process.
8) Mistakes are resulting in a large portion of projects being dismissed
9) And if not, disaster strikes when the go-to-market strategy started with the usual top customers due to lacking the understanding of early adopter dynamics.
10) As a result, corporations are failing to create disruptive innovation in 99% of the cases and settle with improvements or copying the new leaders.

Immense knowledge explosion in neuroscience has led to a new understanding of how ideas get created. This advancement resulted in innovation management processes, KPIs, and IMS systems. You can learn it all in the upcoming Deep Innovation Design Training.

Education leaders from the University for crafts and arts in Lucerne helped design the Deep Innovation Design Champion Training.

Here are the core elements of the one-week online training with live instructors.

1) Innovation Opportunity Discovery

Innovation Opportunity Discovery - BlueCallom Method Instead of random idea development, countless experimentations, and other activities, we developed a targeted innovation opportunity discovery method that involves customers and the market in general to the degree that has never been done except by highly innovative startups. It involves counterintuitive yet logical steps to observe the market and analyze the highest potentials and risks to get disrupted.

2) Innovation Strategy

Innovation Strategy - BlueCallom Method With the results of a targeted Innovation Opportunity Discovery, a team can craft an Innovation Strategy for the first time. You will describe the innovation strategy goal, who you will innovate for, budgets and resources, and the anticipated outcome.

3) Innovation Dream Team Assembly

Innovation Dream Team Assembly - BlueCallom Method Once a direction for the innovation is discovered, and a strategy is created, we can assemble an innovation dream team that looks different than 99% of all corporate innovation labs, centers, and teams.

4) Needs and Dreams Analysis

Needs and Dreams Analysis - BlueCallom Method The first step of such a team is to identify the needs and, most importantly, the DREAMS of their customers’ users. Getting to the customers’ dreams is not exactly an intuitive process, but Neuroscience is also here was extremely helpful.

5) Neuro Ideation

Neuro Ideation - BlueCallom Method Conventional brainstorming, stickers, and whiteboards have been the most sophisticated tools we had to let our brain spit out ideas. After understanding how ideas get processed, it was a shocking realization that those ideas were always exciting but never even nearly innovative – rarely if a major improvement. The human mind is the most complex object in the known universe but also the most effective. Knowing how ideas get composed from past experiences, how they get started, and composing new ideas changed everything. No drugs, no special training. It’s all about experiences, the right team, the right inputs, and the right details. Neuro ideation leads to a super logical process that we never need to understand in all details but in its behavior.

6) Disruptive Business Model Development

Disruptive Business Model Development - BlueCallom Method Disruptive technology, products, devices are the classics and rather fast to emulate. Disruptive Business Models a difficult to copy and, in connection with disruptive technologies and experiences, almost impossible to catch up. See Amazon, Apple, Google, IKEA, Microsoft (never invented anything), Tesla, and others. It’s clearly part of the innovation development process.

7) Market-Based Idea Validation

Market-Based Idea Validation - BlueCallom Method Instead of testing the product and showing it to a small group of insiders, fearing the competition could copy it before it is out, make massive in-market validation. Never use an agency for that. The innovation team needs to get out and ask roughly 20 – 30 clients in a personal interview. A team of ten can easily get feedback from 250 people. Part of the trick is the selection of the interviewee. Ask highly visual and vocal people, who you find on the web, in your support department’s records, and so forth. A methodical process and carefully crafted the questions – no more will do the magic.

8) Staged Innovation Financing

Staged Innovation Financing - BlueCallom Method Probably one of the most strategic acts of the entire innovation process. While startups may sack in a hundred million or more, how will you get the funding from your CFO? How can you convince an executive who perfected cash management, profitability, capital expenditures, and market cap – to make substantial investments into a future they cannot see. The “Staged Innovation Financing” model helps far beyond the monetary aspects but took a deep dive lesson from neuroscience. It explains why somebody not actively involved in a genuine innovation process will under no circumstances approve a substantial investment in groundbreaking innovation unless you use a methodical path, making them part of the process despite their busy days. An estimated 95% of corporate innovation projects fail because of that.

9) Prototyping Market Born Products

BlueCallom Prototyping Market Born ProductsDue to brain wiring as experts and their training, top-of-the-line engineers cannot release premature products. This is an extremely costly problem that needs to be solved. Most successful products are born and improved in the market and completed during approximately six months of market testing. Market side advocates can provide priceless support and invaluable insights.

10) Innovation-To-Market

Innovation-To-Market - BlueCallom Method Usually are new product generations, or even new products are presented to the biggest customers first. The more disruptive a product is, the harder it is to get large businesses to accept those innovations. Is it an indication that the innovation is not good? Wrong. The audience is not good for groundbreaking innovation. Any groundbreaking innovation ever brought to market took at least 3 years to gain adoption and 5 to 10 years to become mainstream.

11) Global Scaling

Innovation Scaling Globally - BlueCallom Deep Innovation Design TrainingAfter the first two or so years in the go-to-market process need to scale. Audience expansion, geographic expansion, production scaling, sales and marketing scaling and diversifying to different audiences, financial scaling, growth financing, and so forth. THIS 11th EPISODE determines if INNOVATION is happening. It is the ultimate milestone of the innovation dream team, most likely in its 5th year of the project.

12) Innovation Continuum

Innovation Continuum - BlueCallom Deep Innovation Design TrainingEven the most innovative companies fail to continue their innovation journey. Cisco is still making most of their money with communication devices, Intel with their silicon-based chips, Mercedes with their combustion engine based automobiles, Google with search, Facebook with their social network, Uber with taxi service operation fees, and so forth. There is no “we wait until we get there” innovation culture, operational guidance, financial structure, team spirit, take years to enter into an “Innovation Continuum

.”

 

Management, KPIs, and Goals

With a detailed and methodical process, innovation turns from random experimentation to a measurable and manageable process. A strategic effort calls for a goal and milestones. All that is now possible, and you can experience it in the Deep Innovation Design Training.

1) Goals: 

Most likely, one objective is a competitive advantage. But the hard goal needs to be the return on investment and profit contribution. Obviously, there may be a whole series of other strategic goals and objectives.

2) Key Performance Indicators include:

Time Management:

Obviously, trying to manage anything the factor time is one of the most critical factors. Time to complete certain project episodes, execution time compared with others and so forth. The factor time is part of a series of KPIs.

Time to innovate:

The Time To Innovate TTI is one of the strategic KPIs. It’s important to know how fast can a team get to innovation. The start and the endpoint are critical to be defined so we can measure that time span. We calculate the TTI in days from the initial “Needs & Dreams Analysis” to the market-based “Idea Validation”. It’s also important to define innovation as a disruptive or groundbreaking innovation. Everything else would be an improvement.
Benchmark for a good TTI: 6 weeks

Time To Market:

The Time To Market is the time between “Idea Validation” and first revenue during the “Innovation-to-Market” episode.
Benchmark for a good TTM: 6 months

Budget Management:

The way a given budget is used over time between Innovation Opportunity Discovery and first revenue in the market. Then from first revenue to scaling, being in at least 20 countries and 5 continents.

Financing stages:

Staged Innovation Financing is a process that manages financing from Innovation Episode to Episode until the team presents to the CFO. In the meantime, the team will present each stage in a 3-minute online meeting.
Benchmark for a good initial budget is $50,000  plus the salary for a team of 8 to 12

Innovation contribution:

Measuring the number if innovation relevant ideas, research facts, and work inputs
Benchmark for a good TIC value: 1,200 (contributions)

Degree of innovation confluence:

Measuring idea composition based on team inspiration from other members. They share who inspired them. Data show the Idea Confluence Factor ICF learning how well a team builds on each other or works in isolation. The Individual Ingenuity Driver IID shows the key driver and possible dominance.

Innovation Progress States:

Measuring the progress from episode to episode as an IPS (Innovation Positioning System) over the typical 12 episodes. Average Mean Time Between Episodes MTBE
Benchmark for a good MTBE: 2 weeks

Innovation process data consolidation:

Average corporations run between 50 to 2,000 innovation projects, distributed across the world. It’s important to consolidate and compare all the data to help teams improve and share their experiences to advance their innovation processes.
Consolidation is important to see the overall effort, overall budgets, overall cost, overall team sizes, overall ROI. For comparison purposes KPIs including TTI, TTM, Budgets, TIC, ICF, IID, and MTBE.

With a Deep Innovation Design Training,
Innovation is no longer serendipity
but a highly strategic and intelligent process!

You may want to explore the BlueCallom Innovation Management Academy.

 

Corporate Innovation Labs – Counter-Intuitive

Ingenuity – The corporate innovation teams are typically composed of brilliant minds, top-notch experts. If they can’t solve a problem, nobody can. Is that wrong? Seriously would you expect a sales manager to sit down and innovates and finds a new algorithm? Certainly not. Or maybe a financial controller who may know how to deal with algorithms, should they come up with a new way of building the next generation rocket system? Not very likely. Or?

Experimentation – It is globally understood that it takes a huge amount of creativity to come up with truly groundbreaking ideas. And since creative outcomes cannot be ordered, innovators get a great deal of freedom to experiment with all kinds of ideas and try new ones whenever something seems to make no sense. In other words, experimentation is a key in innovation design. How else?

Competing Ideas – Of course, once an idea is born and needs to hit the road to the market we need them but first, we need an idea, a prototype, and so forth, maybe approvals,  certification, and so forth. And that is expensive. Therefore the decision needs to be made that only the best, most plausible, most viable, most promising idea gets chosen. Right?

Realization – And once it is chosen we do what needs to be done to build and make the first small production batch to surprise the market. And since that is expensive. the other ideas that are too risky won’t make it. Correct?

Startup Mania – All the cases we see and hear about disruption, come from startups. Therefore we need to understand what they do, how they do, how they come up with those innovative ideas, and learn for our own innovation labs. So far no enterprise has put another out of business based on any disruptive idea. Buying or investing in startups looks like a good idea. Is it?

I’m sure you noticed that all the above is today’s normal, yet I was trying to provoke you and kind of question everything.

For more than 6 years, we ran a startup accelerator based on our experience of starting, growing, and successfully exiting companies. We also thought all the above is sort of a logical approach. But it is not. We came to the realization, that innovation and the rise of startups are loaded with counterintuitive steps and behavior.

  • Innovation lab packed with experts? The worst thing that can happen.
  • Experimentation? Once we understand how ideas are created, experimentations step back.
  • Competing ideas? Actually guarantees that innovation is not happening.
  • Parth of realization? Not even the richest enterprise can afford that path.
  • Not a single startup that was acquired or invested in bringing any kind of significant innovation

The Hidden Enterprise Innovation Power

Analyzing the main differences between a startup and an enterprise (I had the pleasure to be in both 2 enterprises than 4 startups) opened my eyes but it took 30 years. Enterprises have an inherited massive advantage over startups only that they don’t use those qualities in a way that makes them truly innovative. And when we are using the term “innovative” we mean groundbreaking innovation either as product innovation, and organizational innovation, or a business model innovation – ideally all three.

Talents
Large enterprises have many extraordinary people, superbly educated, top talented, well connected. However, the skills that are needed to become a top innovator. are never captured, never developed, and maybe oftentimes too understood.

Market Access
What startups need to explore in a painful process, enterprises have on a silver plate: customers with needs and dreams. The focus on efficiency, effectiveness, employee utilization, and more clogged the single most important access to innovation-relevant information.

Ideation Power
The top talents of any trait, diverse and far-reaching experiences, high level of qualification, and intellectual capacity are resources of an enterprise that dwarf any startup on the planet. How to leverage that power is completely unknown inside the enterprise organizations and only unfolds themselves by the sheer urge to survive in the better startups.

Realization Power
Laboratories to play and experiment in the final stage of the innovation journey map are a piece of cake in any corporate innovation environment. Startups build their MVPs with the most rudimentary tools. Sound really interesting and maybe is seen as the better solution. But only to the day when enterprise leaders get the idea to make a radical and strategic shift.

Financial Power
Almost needless to say that enterprises have no problem at all financing the first steps of an inner startup. Again a huge advantage over startups – but already in the next steps when first market tests and prototypes are complex and stretch the boundaries of physics, money runs out in enterprises. This is when VCs only begin and have no problem putting hundreds of millions in their startups. Yet a new car cost billions to develop.

What is the real problem?

When we look into the enterprise versus startup discussion, we simply look in the wrong direction. Every single successful enterprise has been an equally successful startup 20, 50, or 200 years ago. And even relatively young tech startups that have successfully completed their IPO and crossed the $5Billion revenue range almost forgot what happened when they were innovative year over year.

After four years of research, we realized: Enterprises had no other chance than fail. The way an enterprise is managed is structured in a way that the operation is optimized, employees best utilized, and every aspect of sales, marketing, production, logistics, engineering finance, and so forth is woven together in a way that leaves no room for anything else. And in the past, there was nothing else. But today there is: Every innovation triggers two new innovations, which trigger two new innovations. The innovation explosion – which only now is part of the competitive advantage – is simply not part of the enterprise management Carta.

How do you use all those discoveries?

You need to turn the counterintuitive situations with your current corporate innovation environment, on its head and redesign your thinking and innovation itself:

  1. Find ways to identify, develop, empower and stimulate the best available talents
  2. Leverage the market access to understand the needs and dreams of their customers
  3. Going far beyond brainstorming and leveraging “neuro ideation” getting to truly groundbreaking innovation
  4. Again leverage the market access to validate the extreme ideas that come out of the best possible ideation
  5. Trying to redesign business models based on all inputs to find their “disruptive moment”
  6. Create a long term “Staged Funding” plan before a penny was burned through experimentation
  7. Now build the MVP while going to market, creating “Market Born Products”
  8. Once the product is stable, scaling the operation as fast as possible.

And once done you start all over – never stop innovating, never stop producing, marketing servicing, and crafting a dominating corporate innovation strategy.  Enter into the “Innovation Continuum.”

For me, finding out how innovation is actually created and making it a repeatable process was the most exciting business journey in my life.

Let me know what you think.

The Quest for more Innovation

In the last five to ten years, pretty much any business and any government was pushing for more innovation. But if somebody was asked “How do I innovate? Tell me to step by step”, there was no tangible answer. When I was asked that very question, in particular, the “step by step” part, it daunted me, that there was simply no answer that could satisfy this question. Tens of thousands of consultants help people to “open their mind”, other use the “design thinking” model to process ideas – actually very well. But the question remains: “How do you CREATE those innovative ideas on-demand” in the first place – so you can then process them in any of the models!

Innovation on Demand

Innovation was an accidental event – a combination of many instances, experiences, and the brain pushed out an idea. In some cases, those ideas have been big enough to warrant starting a whole new business. But today, we have a situation where we don’t want to have an accidental brain flash leading to a possible innovation. In times where we have a crisis, we actually would want to have solutions on demand.  But as long as we don’t even know how ideas are created, we are far away from creating ideas on demand.

Maybe the Biggest Shift in Innovation History

Neuroscientists helped me understand that human beings are not really creative – we can only COMPOSE ideas from past experiences, from whatever we saw, heard, felt, and so forth. All our daily experiences are actually get associated with existing experiences and create some interesting IDEAS of which we actually don’t really know. The biggest idea machine is our mind when we sleep. There is much to explain but the net of it is: We are not creative and we create ideas by the millions. So what is the problem?

Our historic evolution, our culture, our education, and our brain itself poses a problem: It is conditioned to allow only the most obvious and the least demanding ideas to pop up. Only one in a trillion or less is actually making it from our right brain to the left and stimulates communication between the two, which forms a “thought” that may break through all the other barriers. And once we understand that process, we have the foundation for creating innovation on demand, like we create a house or bridge or something as simple as a paper plane.

Deep Innovation Design – PoC

in 2016 we began our first careful attempts to help startups to come up with disruptive business models. What was thought to be a “one of a million” chance, turned out to be better than 50%. Half of the startups in that, for us historic batch, we’re creating a disruptive model – on demand. They created what we call a “Disruptive Moment”. Disruptive moments are the part of a business model that will push competitors to change their course in order to catch up with these startups. It was the first version of a Prove of Concept (PoC). In the past two years, we went deeper into the “mechanics of our mind”. We learned what we needed to actually DO to play with our billions of neurons and synapses to form those innovative ideas. After two years of work, we found an early concept that works well enough to come up with an innovative solution, whenever we want. It was in itself an innovative concept to create innovation. We called it the “deep innovation design method”.

Four ‘T”s, one “M” of Deep Innovation Design

1) TALENT
We need people who have a “talent” for creating innovation. Very much like others are talented to play music, paint pictures, drive race cars, cook amazing meals, create fashion, help others or simply entertain people. Talent is the ability to play with ideas, seek experiences, are least pre-conditioned, reject conformity, create their own rules. We have millions with that trait. Almost any toddler has that talent until we press them into a societal system that unknowingly suppresses that talent, but it is still there – hidden. Do you remember: “Don’t be so childish”, “you are a dreamer, be more realistic”, “Focus, learn your lesson, you need to repeat it tomorrow in class.”

2) TEAM
Like a music band, or a football team, innovation is a team sport – if you do it alone you end up waiting for accidental ideas. And one of the most important players in the “Innovation Play”, are the affected people: Customers, users, victims. If you start the game without them you are doomed to lose. And if your actors (innovators) are all of the same trade, you will lose as well. Diversity is the magic formula. Understanding that part makes it also very obvious why enterprises CANNOT be innovative. They try to surprise the customer with their ideas instead of co-creating an experience. And their ideas come from a monoculture called R&D centers, engineering teams, or other experts. And finally, the decision-maker, who may not be able to ‘experience’ the idea in their mind will need to reject the idea. It almost couldn’t be worse. We learned that ‘innovation’ is one of the most counterintuitive activities humankind is conducting – yet mother nature is pushing it out wherever she can.

3) TRAINING
Our brain is an old machine with lots of upgrades. More upgrades than any other organ in our human apparatus. It is also the most adaptive body part. To overcome some of the 300,000-year-old habits and some even go back 5 million years, we need to train our brains. I often wonder how long our children would crawl if we never help them to walk. We need to train our bran in opening a treasure chest that is heavily guarded by about 200 million nerve strands or Axons, our so-called Corpus Callosum.
With good talents, a great team, and well-defined techniques we actually can. And that is the beginning of “Innovation on demand”.

4) TOOLS
You know the saying: “I think my head explodes”- right? And that is always when you reach your capacity limits of learning or thinking, or comprehending – or – innovating. In an interesting way, it’s all the same. For the last 12,000 years, we experience this more and more often and we have built more and more tools and ever bigger teams to deal with exactly that problem. We have yardsticks to measure distances much easier than computing them in our brain. We build cranes big enough to lift the weight we need to lift without architecting it over and over again. And today we developed tools, methods, and finally technology that shall help us to go through this rather demanding process called innovation. And guess what – it is no different from what athletes perform in their contests, musicians on stage, race drivers on the street or on the water, and so forth. Both athletes and innovators, can easily loos one or two Kilo of body weight, during such processes. When I processed complex ideas or learned entirely new things rather fast, I fall asleep, equally exhausted than after a 20 km run (12.4 miles). Our brain can consume massive energy! That energy consumption is of extreme importance to know when we try to get groundbreaking ideas out of it.

5) MARKET
Here is when the rubber meets the road. There are an estimated 100 Million patents in drawers that have been never used. It shows that the initial value of innovation, even patented is exactly ZERO. The value is only and exclusively created when an idea gets executed, brought to life, and into the market. The value then grows with the size of its distribution. We can be as innovative as we want – if we cannot make it available to a market or the market is not interesting, the value remains to be zero. In the end, sales channels, creative marketing, service and support organizations, transport (and if it is the Internet) are key to the success of any innovation. This success is seen best when we look through the macroeconomic lens: A company creates a product. It is sold through distribution and dealer channels, it is shipped across all oceans, it is serviced locally, maybe education organizations provide training, maybe consulting companies help apply the product. At the same time, new ideas pop up from companies that build add-ons to that product and create even a market extension. All of a sudden a company with 5,000 employees actually creates 50,000 indirect jobs. That innovation is clearly valuable. The worst of all versions is to create a valuable idea, get a patent and then not only not use it but prevent anybody else from creating it. It is a crime on society – stealing an advancement, just based on self-interests.

How to start from here

On April 23, the BlueCallom Group who worked on the Deep Innovation Design Model for four years is providing a free online seminar (webinar) and explaining how the Deep Innovation Design Model works, where you can get trained and how you can create innovation on demand. The World Innovations Forum is providing training programs and support in emerging countries and is able to provide stipends for talented innovators to learn how to be extremely innovative.

How about Innovator or Innovation Design Manager or Innovation Paradigm Executive?

Find out what suits you best:

The pressure to be more innovative is big. This pressure comes from various sources at the same time. Customers want better, easier, more useful solutions. Investors want to see the company they invested in more agile and more innovative. The board simply amplifies the pressure from the market onto the executive bench. Top talents want to work in innovative companies and the competition from fast-growing and scaling young companies on top of all that. A CEO of a global enterprise cannot be the same innovator as the CEO of a startup. But the enterprises can look for innovative talents who may perform that role without taking the entrepreneurial risk of starting and driving their own business.

The Innovator

The title says it all, the person innovates. However, in our today’s complex business organizations, we need to not only think of innovative solutions for customers but also innovative solutions internally. Many marketing departments conduct their business in more or less the same way, with the same KPIs and the same methods as 25 years ago. Marketing innovation can have extremely positive effects on a companies market presence. Innovation itself is another even more dramatic challenge. How can a perfectly organized company with a top-level employee utilization craft out time for innovation? Whether for internally or externally faced innovations, the innovator is a top talent that has a wide-open mind, is a stellar listener, and amazing observer. That person has lots of experiences with which they can compose new ideas and are trained to “play” with their brain and produce groundbreaking ideas. The innovator is the person who literally produces innovation without being the expert that actually builds the product or service that will rock the market. The developing and building process remains in the engineering or other specialists’ hands. The innovator typically would report to a Deep Innovation Design Manager.

The Deep Innovation Design Manager

We all learned that the value of an idea is zero. The value of innovation grows with its distribution throughout global markets. The Deep Innovation Design Process needs managers with a 360° view of all aspects, steps, processes, stakeholders, and activities who can navigate and moderate the process with whole teams, partners, contributors, and other stakeholders. He or she is the Innovation Success Manager and would typically report to an Innovations Paradigm Executive or directly to the CEO in smaller organizations.

The Innovation Paradigm Executive

In large enterprises with different business units, countless departments and many products need an executive-level person to craft a corporate-wide innovation strategy, work with the C-Level of the company, coordinate the innovation engagements across all business units and ensure the financial engagements and capital distribution throughout the various projects, run by the Deep innovation Design Managers.

In the new world of Innovation Paradigm Models and Deep Innovation Design methods, innovation is demystified and turned into predictable and manageable activities that can be planned, budgeted, and managed. And to do so, businesses need talents to perform these new jobs.

If this should become your career path, join one of our free online events.

The Growth Accelerator and the brand new Entrepreneurs Academy are now open for applications. Lots of news:

  1. Updated Growth Accelerator Program
  2. New Entrepreneurs Academy
  3. Partnership with World Innovations Forum

Updated Growth Accelerator Program

We added a new session INNOVATIVE THINKING based on our experience with “Disruptive Business Model Development”. It’s all about thinking out of the box, creative, big… but how do you actually shape your thinking process? In this new session, we teach you how to actually think innovatively.

Admittedly – our all online accelerator program failed in emerging countries. Hence we are back to the former and highly successful “hybrid model”, consisting of a one-week bootcamp and 10 weeks online program.

New Entrepreneurs Academy

Between fall last year and now we developed an all-new Entrepreneurs Academy program. This is thought to be a precursor to the growth accelerator. It covers the key topics of entrepreneurship, company purpose, team development without a budget, business concept & funding, and so forth.

Partnership with World Innovations Forum

The partnership with the World Innovations Forum Foundation allows us to give stipends with substantial discounts, up to 99% to attendees from emerging and developing countries. It may also allow us to provide stipends for teams in developed countries with special conditions.

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