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How to embrace innovation

By Thomas Cheah • November 20, 2012 • Filed in: Business Innovation

This is a continuation of my previous article Why We Don’t Innovate. This was excerpted and summarized from the original article Why You’re Blind To Innovation, where the author shared his experience after 25 years of working with the world’s leading companies on successful innovation, which included spearheading an innovation best practices study with first-ever findings. These are the tips facilitate the innovation process:

Stop working

Focusing on a task hinders your ability to see something new and surprising. While work still needs to get done, step back often and observe. Pay attention to customers, competitors, and the quirky fringe of the culture where new ideas get traction.

Follow bread crumbs

People learn best in increments starting from a place they’re familiar with. So to overcome the inherent difficulty of seeing something new and grasp innovation, try recreating the steps your competitor took to get from point A (the current state of the art) to point B.

Get real

One natural bias that keeps us from seeing innovation is that most people tend to be excessively optimistic about their future, a fact borne out by research and reflected in the notion most of us have of being above average, which couldn’t possibly be true. Those who see the world with stark honesty (that small minority of realists) tend to have a more accurate picture of opportunity. Seek out their advice.

Embrace annoying people

You know the ones, whose comments at meetings drive everyone up the wall. By being wired to challenge conventions and assumptions, they’re more likely the ones who see the new paradigm emerge first.

Set up your safety nets

Since innovation fails more times than not, successful innovation is largely determined by how well you manage failure. Learning from mistakes is key; in fact, companies that hold regular debriefs after the launch of a new product average 100 percent more revenue than those that don’t. Make it safe to fail when it drives progress to the goal you want to achieve.

Which of the tips above work for you, or anyone of them that you personally experienced before. I would like to hear your comments below. Or you can try out the Innovation Scorecard Test to find out where you should focus your innovation efforts.

About The Author

Thomas CheahThomas Cheah is the Principal CTO-for-hire of Procto. He helps business owners and executives to innovate their business model thru strategic technology management so that they get 80% of the benefit for 20% of the cost. If you have innovative ideas but do not the technical expertise, he is your partner to validate and build your digital business models. Thomas believes that constant business innovation is increasingly important in today's business environment so that our business is prepare for rapid change of customer behavior, rising cost, and globalization in order to stay ahead (or away) of competition.

Learn more about Thomas Cheah.


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One or two to rmeember, that is.


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