Improving your capacity

for radical innovation

Now that we understand insights as the raw material out of which big ideas are built, we can begin to discuss a practical methodology for improving our capacity to innovate.

Companies often ask themselves why their innovation efforts seem to produce so few truly game-changing ideas. On the surface, they may appear to be doing everything right. They identify very relevant strategic challenges. They collect and collate lots of industry data, market research reports, trend surveys, technology road maps, and customer data to help them understand these selected areas of focus. They organize brainstorming sessions facilitated by creativity consultants, or launch open innovation campaigns across and beyond the company, or invest in longer-term R&D activities in an effort to generate new ideas and opportunities. Yet all too often these initiatives yield nothing more than lukewarm ideas for incremental improvements rather than radical new concepts that could create dramatic revenue growth and perhaps even revolutionize an industry. So where are things going wrong?

The answer is that you can’t produce big, breakthrough ideas unless you first generate the right kinds of insights. It’s like a farmer hoping to reap a bountiful harvest without first sowing the right seeds. We need to understand that the output is dependent on the input. Investing time, money, and effort in innovation without first building a rich portfolio of insights is mostly ...

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