Innovation in 5: Where to start?

‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’    Alice in Wonderland

To beleaguered executives, innovation is a jigsaw puzzle. So complex to contemplate, so little time.

Under pressure from stakeholders, some grab random pieces and have a go. The result? Underwhelming or worse. Others ignore innovation altogether and hope nobody notices.

Both are short-term solutions. Innovation is getting harder to dodge in boardroom conversations and business outcomes. It’s seen as a critical growth driver with significant cultural dividends.

As an agenda item, it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Many executives feel cornered and not a little helpless. Surrounded by mounds of innovation jigsaw pieces, they don’t quite know where to start or what the picture should look like.

As the King said, try the beginning.

Before committing to an innovation agenda, go back to basics. As a leadership team, explore questions such as:

  • “What precisely do we mean by innovation?” (and “Are we already doing it but calling it something else?”)
  • “Why do it?”
  • “How does it fit into our current/future business model?”
  • “What do we want to achieve?”

This is leadership territory, an exploration that can’t be outsourced or delegated. Armed with the clarity of answers, your innovation journey has begun.

This is #1 in a series of quick-reference posts on innovation basics.

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