Just about every CEO talks about innovation but making it happen in their organizations is not easy. My guest agrees – stating that innovation is not easy, but it is simple. And, to show us how simple innovation can be, he just released the book, “Keep Innovation Simple: Lead with Clarity and Focus in a World of Constant Change.”
He is a speaker, writer, consultant, trainer, and coach for innovation and product management leaders. His new book is available on Amazon and the eBook version contains frequent links to videos, websites, research reports, and more. You can review portions of the book at no cost on his website at www.3point14innovation.com.
In the following interview you will learn the 3 C’s to keep innovation simple:
- Conversion, and
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of questions discussed:
- Why did you write this book – Keep Innovation Simple? There were three reasons that really drove me to write it. From my experience with the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), I knew a lot of great thought leaders, great academics doing wonderful research, and it seemed to be hard to get the results of their research into the hands of innovators and companies. The second reason is when organizations try to do innovation projects they often over-complicate things. Lastly, I read a lot of business books and the vast majority of them take themselves way too seriously. I wanted to write a book that readers could have a little fun with.
- How do you define innovation? I define innovation as the intersection of three overlapping areas – novelty, value, and execution. All three are needed for innovation to occur. Novelty means you’re offering something new. Value means it provides benefit to its users. Execution means it is created in a manner that mutually benefits both its users and its developers.
- In the book you make a distinction between innovation best practices and evidence-based practices – tell us about the difference. The challenge that I found while developing the book was that there really is no such thing as a best practice. Because innovative organizations are always improving how they innovate, if something is a best practice today, it may be a second or third best practice tomorrow. Also, what works at my organization may not be what works at your organization. So it’s best practice for me, but not necessarily best practice for you. Finally, there’s a whole lot of things that people think they know but that really aren’t true. So I changed my approach from calling it a best practice to evidenced-based practices. What I’ve tried to deliver are the results of objective, peer-reviewed, rigorous research that has gone into what separates the people who really do well with innovation and those who don’t.
- You address innovation in terms of 3 C’s – creation, conversion, and control. What do you mean by control? Together, I called the three C’s the innovation engine. The first C is control and it consists of four parts. You start with a mission, move on to culture, then to strategy, and then portfolio management. You have to do them in that order because they build on each other. Mission is really why your organization exists and what you’re trying to achieve. Culture is the operating system of how your organization functions. Strategy is the how of achieving the why in the mission. We know what we want to do, this is how we’re going to go about doing it. Portfolio management are the projects we’re actually going to be working on and how we’re going to apply resources to those projects.
- Tell us about the next C, creation. Creation has three pieces. They are the voice of the customer, the mental game of innovation, and ideation. Voice of the customer is used to empathically understand your customer’s needs, what their problem is, and where their pain points are. Creation is also a mental game because it ultimately involves the human brain. An example is the brain-writing technique for brainstorming. Ideation is really the essence of creation – generating new ideas.
- The final C is conversion. What you mean by this? Conversion consists of how teams, project management, and metrics are used. Teams need to be cross functional and collaborative. For project management, I’ve not found any definitive research that has identified one project management approach being better than another. What is important is that the approach needs to be flexible to handle the inevitable changes. Also, the people involved need to know the project management process being used. Metrics need to exist that will help drive the desired behavior of individuals as well as teams.
- Brad’s website
- Brad’s book, Keep Innovation Simple: Lead with Clarity and Focus in a World of Constant Change
“Simplicity – the art of making the complex clear – can give us the power to get stuff done. Power to work smarter. It’s a prerequisite if we want to leverage the untapped energy, innovation, creativity, and ideas that already exist in our organizations.” -Bill Jensen, author of Simplicity: Working Smarter in a World of Infinite Choices
Listen Now to the Interview
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