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Innovation Methodolgy

Last week a friend of mine, Robbi Laurenson (CTO Microsoft South Africa Equity Equivalent Program) came to the Unboxed offices and give us an excellent talk about Innovation Methodology. Here are some notes I made from his presentation.

Innovation is a required quality of modern organisations. The constant push of Moore's Law means we need to innovate and adapt to avoid extinction. Innovation is about culture and mindset; regular innovation needs to be responsible, though. It needs a method, and to be measured and practised. Ideas need time to churn after an initial burst of creativity. It's helpful to have a follow up session after the first, a day or two later.

Successful innovation works best with a small team, with unique skills, and a shared vision and rewards (achievements are often more valued than rewards themselves). An idea needs a champion to be successful: someone to provide focus, passion, urgency, commitment, and perseverance. When evaluating ideas, measure feedback from many and widespread sources, and act on them quickly. Decide whether to discard the idea, pivot, or iterate on it.

The Value Proposition of your idea is important and worth returning to frequently. A useful framework is Need, Approach, Benefit, Competition: you can use this to build your one sentence elevator pitch. Pick a different value proposition from your competitors. As you continue to work on it, you must remain value oriented: on the customer, the company, and the stakeholders (in that order). A useful framework for Blue Ocean strategies (where there's uncontested market space) is to compare yourself to your competitors using a Eliminate, Reduce, Raise, Create grid.

Measuring is another important part. Make sure you have set clear success parameters, and use these to measure prototypes, progress, and actual vs planned Return On Investment.