Practice of Innovation

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

What is Agile?

A Family of Different Value-Creation Methods

If you are like me, you are likely confused by all the different forms of Agile, Lean, SCRUM, Lean Startup, I-Corps, Waterfall, Six Sigma, and Funnel.  Then, after you figure that out, the next questions are to understand what method to use in a given situation?  Here are some thoughts on those questions.

I gave an online speech this week, Innovation for Impact, at the World Agile Conference out of Lisbon, Portugal. It is a very valuable conference because the most prominent advocates are there, like my friend Steve Denning, and because it demonstrates the use of Agile and other models in many diverse contexts.  Numerous speakers mentioned different methodologies, including Agile, Lean, Waterfall, and SCRUM.  Because of all of its applications, the Agile movement is, as Denning points out, at its core, a mindset.  (more…)

Innovation for Impact (i4i)

Properties of an i4i Enterprise

My friend Steve Denning wrote a paper that describes some of the characteristics of an Agile enterprise.  Agile is a popular methodology that Steve writes about at Forbes almost every week.  He asked me how I would define an enterprise using our Innovation for Impact (i4i) methodology.  As I have written about here, an early version of i4i was used to create HDTV, Siri (now on the iPhone) and other innovations while I was CEO of SRI International.  A short introduction to our methodology can be found on Coursera. I am now teaching it at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Northeastern University.  (more…)

NABC Value Propositions

A Process for Systematic Innovative Success

Here is a podcast with Hunter Hastings from the Mises Institute where we discuss the fundamentals of value creation.  Below is an introduction to the webcast and a graphic for NABC value propositions.  As I describe, the four NABC elements are the starting point for all new innovations.  If you cannot address all four, you have still not figured out what to do next. 
(more…)

Success at Value Creation

Three Fundamental Concepts

At a GE workshop: Michael Idelchik (VP of R&D), Curt Carlson, and Len Polizzotto

Experience shows that very few companies have a value creation methodology. There are three keys I look for, which are required for systematically successful innovation. Does the company or enterprise:

  1. Focus on important customer and market needs to make an impact?
  2. Share core value creation concepts, including NABC value propositions, for effective collaboration?
  3. Hold recurring team value-creation forums for rapid learning and improvement?

(more…)

The Value Creation Quiz

1.

The mean lifetime of the top 500 U.S. companies today is:



2.

Many technologies are improving at what rate?



3.

A useful definition for "innovation" is:



4.

What's the definition for "customer value"?



5.

The definition of a "value proposition" is:



6.

All significant new innovations should be:



7.

After you have a working hypothesis for your innovation's value proposition, you:



8.

Does your enterprise teach all employees how to be value creators?



9.

When starting a new innovation what do you do first?



10.

"Unknown" customer needs are:



11.

A viable business model is:



12.

Where is the best place to compete?



13.

Fraction of your team who should be able to define what a "value proposition" is:



14.

Value creation requires what intensity of collaborative iteration?



15.

In forming value creation teams, which attribute is least important?



16.

In an enterprise who can be a value creator?



17.

Which of the following is not required to obtain a U.S. patent?



18.

Which of these is true?



19.

These team behaviors help assure productive collaboration:



20.

Do value-creation methodologies based on fundamental team practices:



21.

Who created Siri, HDTV, Intuitive Surgical, and the fundamentals of the personal computer interface, including the computer mouse?



22.

In surveys of companies, which of these is not one of the top-five barriers to innovation?



23.

A value creation champion can lack the following:



24.

What practices hurt a team's ability to be successful value creators?



25.

In what areas of society are new innovations possible?





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A Transparent World

Challenges and Opportunitiesinternet_world_fullwidth

Last year I was in Singapore and met Israel’s former economic minister.  When I asked why he was there he said, “Like Singapore, Israel is a small country.  Most of the world’s important opportunities, talent, and resources are somewhere else.  I am here to discuss how to make the world transparent for us.”  That is an important idea.  This objective is also being pursued by companies and universities around the world.  (more…)

Customer Value Analysis

DK Untitled
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner in economics.

Products, Services, and Prospect Theory

Behavioral science is now an influential part of economics. It needs to become a more important part of the discipline of innovation. Although the discussion below is somewhat speculative, it highlights important perceptual attributes of “customer value.” Prospect Theory inspired this discussion, but the focus is quite different. Therefore I call it “Customer Value Analysis,” a model to help better evaluate the relative merits of different forms and amounts of customer value. (more…)

A Shark Tank – Really?

Companies Using Bad Ideas   

Companies say staff development is critical for their success.  But what do they do?  

Some have their staff building toy bridges out of Lego Blocks to learn “creativity.” Others engage their staff in extreme physical activities, like running through mud, to learn “teamwork.”  My first reaction when I learn that a company is doing these things is to want to short their stock.  Why aren’t their people learning creativity and teamwork doing their jobs?  If you are not excited and learning new skills doing your work, something is very wrong with the company. (more…)

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