Your Consumer and the Innovation Equation – Why They May Not Be Involved Enough

Identifying (let alone creating) a new innovation that will dramatically grow your business is difficult. Line extensions and product / package refreshes will keep the business moving forward and engaged with consumers. But what about the breakthrough innovation that executives are expecting? Transformational innovation requires significant investment, risk taking, and preparation which can be a … Read more

Use Tension and Conflict to Create Breakthrough Products

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I’ve written before about the science that helps explain why and how constraints and limits, often in the form of intelligent, well-set stretch goals, result in more creative solutions.

Too often, though, managers set what appears to be a good stretch goal, only to discover that it did not produce the hoped-for innovative thinking. One common reason for this is that the goal was in fact not “stretch” enough. When I ask executives what they consider “stretch,” I commonly hear about 5% to 10% increments in improvement.

That’s not stretch enough, because a 5%-10% improvement often translates to people working harder and longer. A 25% improvement, though, while audacious and arduous, can rarely be met simply by sweating more. It demands innovative thinking.

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Match Your Innovation Process to the Results You Want

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From HBR

We are often asked whether the best way to structure for innovation is top-down or bottom-up. The answer is both, but it depends. Bottom-up approaches work well for incremental (keeps you in the game) innovations. Breakthrough (changes the game) innovations, contrary to popular belief, need a top-down approach.

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