Quarterly is an attempt to put together
insights relevant for fostering a culture of innovation in organizations – both
for-profit and not-for-profit. Through articles and interviews we explore
principles, practices and policies that help organizations become more innovative.
Theme for this quarterly is “Design thinking” – an approach
to problem solving that emphasizes empathy, rapid prototyping, process focus
and cross-functional collaboration. The main article, 4
tenets of design thinking, explores each of the 4 dimensions.
finished evaluating the beta prototypes of 5 of my peers and that finishes my 8
week long course “Design:
Creation of artifacts in society” taught by Prof. Karl Ulrich of Wharton School
of University of Pennsylvania at coursera.org. I enrolled for this free
course more out of curiosity. However, the expectations were so-so. I make a
living helping people innovate effectively and I thought I would know most of
the stuff. Browsing through the textbook written by the instructor (Ulrich)
prior to the course only strengthened this feeling. Today I am glad I did the
course and I feel I was so wrong about how much I would learn in the process.
The experience just blew me off! Here are 4 things that really impressed me about
Organizing contests to generate a blockbuster idea or a few
best ideas is not a novel concept. You may be familiar with campaigns such as GE’s
ecomagination challenge or
Economic Times’ “Power of Ideas”.
Similarly idea campaigns have been an integral part of innovation programs of
various organizations including Cognizant, Intuit, Titan etc. Question is: How
do you ensure or at least increase the chance of getting a blockbuster idea
through such a campaign? What are the levers that improve the performance of
idea campaigns? Prof. Karl Ulrich of Wharton School calls such campaigns innovation
tournaments. He along with Prof. Christian Terwiesch (also of Wharton) has
written a book titled “Innovation
tournament: Creating and selecting exceptional opportunities” that addresses
these questions. In this article, let’s look at the 4 levers from the book that
Ulrich presents in the Wharton lecture shown above. First let’s start with a definition
of innovation tournament.