Practice of Innovation

"The way we work is our most important innovation." Observations by Curtis R. Carlson

Value-Creation Communities (VCCs)

Redefining Work and the Process of Value Creation 

David Nordfors, Vint Cerf, Curt Carlson, and Robin Farmanfarmaian

One of today’s most important issues is whether in the future society will offer enough meaningful work for its citizens. Some argue that automation will eliminate essentially all human work. Since work is a primary source of human dignity, that is a dark vision of our future. That is not the perspective of the recent Silicon Valley Innovation for Jobs (i4j) conference organized and run by David Nordfors, Vint Cerf, and Robin Farmanfarmaian (see picture).  One reason is the emergence of Internet platforms that connect workers with work, allows the efficient learning of new worker skills, and facilitates global collaboration using innovation best practices.    (more…)

The “Open Enterprise”

Must You Ask Permission to Talk to Others?Slide39

Getting the best talent is a challenge for all companies, universities, and government agencies. Great talent is the essential ingredient for achieving innovative success. But in most enterprises there is an equally serious problem – these talented professionals don’t, or are not allowed to, fully collaborate with each other. This means the enterprise’s collective IQ is reduced by orders of magnitude compared to what is possible. (more…)

Improving Innovative Performance

The Role of Different Innovation Models112_0807_03z-ford_model_t-assembly_line

There are many models for improving innovative performance. For anyone entering the field it is confusing. The supporters of each approach tend to believe their model can apply to all situations. That is only partially true. There are unique models appropriate to different businesses and for different stages of value creation.  (See also the related post, Visualizing the Innovative Enterprise.) (more…)

Visualizing the Innovative Enterprise

Continuous Creation of New Customer ValueSlide4

What does an innovative enterprise look like? Steve Denning and I recently discussed this question.  He asked, what is the right organizational image that communicates the fundamental ingredients required for innovative success? Consider the figure shown, which is my version of our collaborative efforts.

See also the post, Improving Innovative Performance.

Customer focus: Customers and their market ecosystem, to the right, are the focus of all efforts. As Peter Drucker pointed out, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”  If should be obvious, but too few enterprises are actively focused on their customers.  (more…)

Will You Succeed?

Measure Your Innovative Potentialstevejobs

Can your enterprise or team succeed?  I have created two spread sheets that allow you to measure the innovative potential of your enterprise and your project team.  I call them the Enterprise Innovative Index and the Project Innovative index.  A discussion about their design and utility can be found by clicking on either Innovative Indices at the top of the home page or here.  

The Enterprise Index spread sheet is here.

The Project Index spread sheet is here.  

These are subjective metrics, but the attributes listed are fundamental to success.  My hope is that the indices will stimulate a discussion among your teammates to promote improvement.  I have added a few reference enterprises on the spread sheets, including Apple and SRI International.  As you will find out, getting a high score is very hard.  If Steve Jobs is one of your benchmarks for innovative excellence, then you will understand why.  There is a reason Apple has 92% of smart phone profits