2009: I mentioned a year ago in One year of blogging: a reflection that the writing experience is more like discovering new threads and weaving them together, hoping to create soft quilts like the poet cum weaver Kabir one day. What kinds of threads did I discover in 2009? Well, they came in many colors and shades. But let me pick a few that stand out. (Note: You will find all my innovation articles organized by topic here.)
- Innovation concepts: We explored various innovation concepts like – a working definition of innovation, sources of innovation, idea vs insight, types of innovations, CEO model of innovation, types of risks in innovation, elements of systematic innovation and relationship between alignment & innovation.
- Idea communication: How we communicate an idea plays a significant role in how effectively it gets adopted in a social set-up (like organization, market or society). We explored various techniques of making ideas sticky described in Made to Stick. These included: understanding the chief villain (curse of knowledge), curiosity gap theory, Steve Job’s curiosity flow, role of stories in presentations, role of emotion, role of showing a prototype etc.
- Innovation stories: I was really impressed by how P&G went about implementing innovation process systematically (source: Game-Changer). I wrote on various aspects I found interesting: open innovation, structure enabling innovation, wisdom of A G Lafley, immersive research. Other innovation stories we looked at were related to: Tata Nano, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Warren Bufffett.
- Country of extremistan and Black Swans: Extremistan is a country where you don’t have prostitutes, or at least the prostitutes there don’t charge by the hour. It is a country where highly improbable and high impact events (called Black Swans) like Satyam scam, 26/11, fame of 3 Idiots are acknowledged and respected as normal. In 2009, we got acclimatized with the terrain of extremistan with: mediocristan vs extremistan, prediction disability, Margin of Safety, Edison hit by negative Black Swan, Pre-mortem analysis.
2010: One thing we learnt in extremistan is that we should be cautious in making predictions (especially about the future). And if we do then at least don’t take them too seriously. With this understanding, let me articulate a few themes I hope to pursue in 2010.
- Idea management systems (suggestion box): Ideas systems form a core element of systematic innovation. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the discipline is 120 years old. I wrote about it last year as: William Denny’s pioneering idea system, Toyota’s idea system and benchmark data from Indian industry. I plan to pursue this theme further with following question: Why do some idea systems survive and thrive and others die?
- Innovation to Moat (I2M): How does innovation process contribute to enhancing business moat (competitive advantage) and keep competitors at bay? Do only big ideas count or small ones count too? What role do patents play? How do we ensure Margin of safety? What does “strategy as surfing” involve?
- 10 step innovation stories with CEO lens: Stories of world class innovators like Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Mahatma Gandhi are known. But the role of innovation catalysts like Mike Markkula (Apple), Katharine Graham (Buffett) and Gopal Krishna Gokhale (Gandhi) is less known. How do these stories look like when looked through CEO lens? Similar to the story I wrote on Edison’s Folly, I am going to write at least 10 steps in each story from concept to cash or concept to crash.
- Innovation movement: Last year, I wrote about what innovation movement in
can learn from Quality movement. Well, I want to pursue this theme further. The questions I want to explore are: How did quality movement evolve? What exactly did it contribute? How did certifications like ISO, CMM mushroom? Did they do any good? How is innovation movement evolving around the world? Would a movie like 3 Idiots make a difference? India