Archive for October, 2014

How many rings to the Onion?

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Herein my latest business insight, please feel free to pass it on or publish in any forum you may wish.

Still more rings to the onion
By Roger La Salle

How hard can we make this?
How many layers of complexity can we add to the “deep science” of innovation?

Why is it that we have to keep drilling down into what is fundamentally simple and find yet more ways of muddying the waters?

The art of innovation it seems is now being applied to innovation; for no other reason presumably than to keep the ball rolling. It seems little different from the ever innovated software changes from the likes of Microsoft and Apple, changes that in most cases only serve to confuse the user whilst offering no real added value.

Where are we today?
So far a discrete number of strains of “Innovation” bug have been isolated, we have at present:
• Disruptive
• Top down
• Open
• Closed
• Front end
• Middle
• Incremental
• Design led
• Bottom up
• Now a new one has recently emerged, called “Leadership in Innovation
• Innovation”?

I am wondering, can anybody add to this list?

I am moved to ask, does anybody ever go to work in the morning saying “’Today I think I’ll do some Disruptive Innovation, or no, perhaps some “Closed”, or may be “Top Down”.

I would suggest not!

These terms are simply the creation (dare I say innovations) of people in the innovation business. They are retrospective terms used to try and categorise the silos in to which new ideas may fall. Though these titles or silos may be useful in an academic sense, they add little real value to the innovation imperative.

Innovation is simply defined as “Change that Adds Value”, the trick is to simply identity things that can be changed. To be sure there is nothing in the world that is free from the opportunity for change or improvement. If you wish to disagree with that then essentially what you are saying is that what we do or use today will be the same in, maybe 50 years’ time? Not likely I would suggest.

In short there are only three types of Innovation:
• Product
• Process (including business processes and supply chain)
• Services.

That’s it.

So what’s missing?
The fact is that innovation of any type does not happen until an opportunity is first identified. The secret is not so much in teaching the art of innovation, plain as it is, but more the art of opportunity capture. This is the systematic search for opportunities, and to be sure such a search can be done with great rigour and simplicity with some 40 different ways available to scan the opportunity horizon. Once done, the next step is to implement the simple tools of innovation and hey presto, new things emerge.

What’s the message?
Don’t be confused by the ever growing layers being added to the innovation onion. Keep it simple, identify the opportunity and then innovate.

**** END ****

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms.

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