Innovation opportunity for enterprises. What worked for startups can now also work for enterprises. Even the innovation process would be the same. And purpose and reasoning should be the same too. The only difference is the leadership structure. And that requires a new understanding of what actually makes the difference between the two company types today.

No – it has nothing to do with size or capital, And yes both are driven by human beings.

Over the past four years, we learned so much about the difference between innovation in corporations and in startups that we today realize: Enterprises had not even a chance to be innovative even when acquiring a startup.  The full details can be downloaded as a Whitepaper

HOW ARE INNOVATIVE IDEAS CREATED
When thinking of innovation it is most helpful to understand how homo sapiens is performing the creation of innovative ideas. Without knowing how innovation is done, it is hard to manage the process and innovation remains to be a process. The key learning is that ideas are composed by our neurons from past experiences. There is no mechanism that just “creates” ideas.

INNOVATION PURPOSE
Without exception, the most innovative solutions were created in an attempt to solve a problem. Random experimentation and hoping to find a great idea never led to groundbreaking innovation. Innovation is an outcome – it cannot be a desire.

RETHINKING INNOVATION
When we know how innovation is created, we can request certain results, request to provide insights, and measure and manage the effort. Most importantly executives know what they are asking, even where and what to innovate.

INNOVATION READINESS
When you know the “what and how”, you can make sure that your business is ready to innovate in the first place and prevent unnecessary costs and delays.

INNOVATION MANAGEMENT
After all – innovation management can be performed like most other mission-critical activities, teams can be selected in accordance with the requirements and tasks and results become predictable and timely.

INNOVATION FINANCING
Successful innovations consumed more than $100 Million in funding, some reached into two-digit billion-dollar investments. Obviously, this is done in stages and in line with progress, KPIs, and timelines. Comparing it with a $500,000 startup would be a huge mistake because that was only their starting point.

FOLLOWING IS NO INNOVATION
Obviously, you can catch up with the market to survive. But the financial market will recognize it accordingly. A follower will not beat the innovator – not on the market cap.

RELENTLESS EXECUTION
Innovation is one of the intellectually most demanding jobs. Not only does it take 100% focus, it also requires relentless execution and the motive to do so. The Innovation Culture, team selection, and motivations are the ultimate driver of successful innovation.

The BlueCallom Deep Innovation Design method was modeled and shaped based on all the findings from our research and our own experiences, building 4 innovative businesses and helping hundreds of startups to get there too.

Whitepaper Download here.

 

 

In a recent research project, interviewing or discussing the entire innovation process in mid-market to global enterprises,  we found a high concentration in 7 areas of counter-intuitive behavior or innovation traps. We have been aware of 5 of them but No. 2 and 7 were also new to us. We will continue expanding our research effort to determine more innovation traps and what you can do.

1) RESEARCH TRAP

Having trouble analyzing your market to discover real innovation opportunities or risks to get disrupted?

STATUS QUO
Today we ask questions hoping to hear that our customers tell us what they need and how you can improve. We ask far too many questions. The results are at the very best improvements for the here and now – never innovation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Using a methodical approach for a needs & dreams analysis leads to current and future visions. There are only two times one question. What is the best possible product for you? And in a different interview another question about their dreams. Then it’s all about the analysis of that two times one question.

2) EXPERTS TRAP

Are you still working with innovation teams that are loaded with experts and only a few market-facing minds?

STATUS QUO
The majority of innovation labs are assembled with top experts. If you add more, you get more of the same but it is impossible to get to groundbreaking innovation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Assemble a highly diverse Innovation Dream Team with carefully selected talents – not skills. It’s all about intelligent team compositions.

3) BRAINSTORMING TRAP

Are you still using yellow post-its, whiteboards, and brainstorming as your top ideation tools?

STATUS QUO
Ideation is done in one, two, or three brainstorm meetings. But our brain is not releasing deeply rooted groundbreaking innovations. Because it is structured to work very differently.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Learn all about Neuro Ideation, how our mind composes thoughts and ideas, and how we can stimulate it to release amazing concepts in just a few weeks – yes, it isn’t just a brain dump.

4) CREATIVITY TRAP

Do you feel you are super creative only the infrastructure and organization are not up to par?

STATUS QUO
The majority of innovation center members reported that they feel they are exceptionally creative but are limited by the organization, infrastructure, or otherwise.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Review the degree of impossibility of the idea and conduct a methodical market validation. You will know in just two weeks if organization and infrastructure are the biggest limitations. In most cases, it is a natural misperception.

5) APPROVAL TRAP

Struggling with getting your executives to finance and approve disruptive innovation concepts?

STATUS QUO
In particular, the most innovative ideas fail to get attention, financial support, and approval from the executive teams.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
When learning about Neuro Ideation it becomes obvious why most disruptive ideas get initially rejected, no matter from whom. “Experience Transmission” is part of the staged Financing Method.

6) EXPERIMENTATION TRAP

Are you still believing that experimentation, pivoting, and prototyping will unfold all of a sudden a magical innovation?

STATUS QUO
The idea that experimentation, pivoting, and rapid prototyping is a preferred innovation method. Fail and fail fast to try as much as possible. If we don’t know how our mind composes ideas, it is our only way to move forward.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Build your target innovation on the needs and dreams analysis, compile the inputs, and conduct Neuro Ideation sessions, involve the management in all episodes. You will experience an unimaginable logical result that is fundable without random experimentation.

7) THE GUESSWORK TRAP

Are you still HOPING you have a great idea, HOPING your customers will like it, HOPING you get the funding, and HOPING it will be a success?

STATUS QUO
The act of innovation is largely built on hope. Even though nobody would actually admit it.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Think through the entire innovation life cycle from finding out what and where to innovate all the way to bring such innovation successfully to market. Explore the Deep Innovation Design model. You may notice that the Neuro Ideation method has a far-reaching influence on all facets of the Innovation Life Cycle.

 

Obviously, you can manage the “Status Quo” with a project management tool. But isn’t that making something dysfunctional even worse and you can get caught in one or more of these innovation traps? Prior to founding BlueCallom, we did that too – and despite the love and energy for innovation, the process never really excited us. We just didn’t know why.

After learning a lot about neuroscience and how ideas are composed in our minds, we created the neuro ideation method. Little did we know that Neuro Ideation is changing the entire Innovation Life Cycle and unfolds all of a sudden a logical, natural, and manageable innovation flow.

Hope it was insightful.

 

In the past four years, we were attempting to understand how innovation is actually created and analyzed how we were building startups that became ten years later billion-dollar companies. We were also exploring how other startups that became billion-dollar companies created their ideas and successes. We found striking insights about the difference in innovations power between startups and established billion-dollar enterprises – who were startups themselves just a few decades ago. Also, we explored the difference between invention and innovation.

From invention to innovation

The automobile evolved from INVENTION to INNOVATION. The disk brakes moved from INVENTION to IMPROVEMENT. The first electric BMW car made it from INVENTION to an EXPERIMENT, while Tesla made it to INNOVATION without even having it invented. A self-driving Mercedes S-Class made a 1,000-mile journey from Munich to Copenhagen and back in 1992! It was already using computer vision and computers to react in real-time. The autonomous car achieved speeds exceeding 110 miles per hour (175 km/h) on the German Autobahn with nearly no human intervention for 95% of the distance. It drove in traffic, executing maneuvers to pass other cars. Also, here, all the necessary inventions have not been taken to innovation but ended up in drawers. Analyzing the reasons is equally complex and interesting but exceeds the purpose of this post. We will do this in another post.

Invention vs. Innovation

In most enterprises, we may find hundreds if not thousands of geniuses with fabulous ideas but no way to go. There is this massive difference between INVENTION and INNOVATION. INVENTION is the act of having and documenting an idea, maybe building a prototype, and perhaps even being granted one or more patents. Unfortunately, the invention is of no value at all. Bringing such an invention to market, scale the business or business unit and make it a global success is when we talk about INNOVATIONS. The full cycle of invention, prototyping, market validation, product-market-fit, funding, marketing, testing, producing, launching, more funding, branding, selling, customer engagement, servicing, business model optimization, more funding, going international all the way up to being a global player in that segment is a successful innovation. Innovation is neither a product nor service nor the marketing or sales effort to make it big – INNOVATION is the result of a series of activities, engagements, teams, and market conditions that lead to groundbreaking new solutions for a larger group of users.

The value of innovation grows with its distribution!

The good news, pretty much every large enterprise on earth is struggling with being innovative. Even enterprises that came just two decades ago with highly innovative solutions to market, now struggling to be innovative. The bad news, more innovative startups, than ever before in history challenge any size enterprise. The question arises: Is the lifecycle of the innovation, the future lifecycle of a company in general?

The five biggest mistakes

  1. The company never developed a comprehensive plan to identify the brilliant ideas, which their employees already created, usually based on their experience with the problem. Inventors are mostly not communicative managers but more introverted engineers!
  2. Seeing the brain spark of an invention already as innovation and wonder why it is not successful in this highly competitive global economy.
  3. Completely ignoring the fact that innovative businesses require a lot of funding to become that innovative business everybody is dreaming about.
  4. Running innovation alongside and hoping for magical growth and market disruption.
  5. Management teams never asked themselves where these ideas are actually coming from and how they can be harnessed.

What to do

  1. A great starting point is to see the act of invention as an ignition point that triggers a comprehensive process of innovation.
  2. It is far better to develop trust in the “Innovation Potential” of the company’s employees than looking into startups.
  3. Rationalizing that any major innovation is also a significant investment, and there is no difference between a startup and a global enterprise.
  4. Creating a serious effort to include customers into the innovation process and stop looking at what the competition is doing.
  5. Stop hoping that employees think like startup entrepreneurs. If they would, they would be long gone, and if they stayed, they much better contribute to an enterprise-level innovation process.

We will share more findings and more insights as we progress.