Practice of Innovation

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

4Q Innovators

IQ, EQ, SQ, and GQ

T-shaped individuals

What’s a T-shaped person?  At conferences on innovation there are often discussions about personality types that make for good innovators.  One popular designation is “T-type” or “T-shaped” personalities.  There are different definitions for T-types, so there is some confusion about what “T” means.  For example, the “T” can stand for thrill seeking. “A personality type that takes risks. Type Ts tend to be extroverted and creative, and crave novel experiences and excitement; they can be positive (entrepreneurs) or negative (sociopaths); mental (Einstein, Galileo) or physical (extreme athletes).”   (more…)

Siri: A Disruptive Innovation

Adam Cheyer Discusses the Origins of Siri

Tom Gruber, Dag Kittlaus, and Adam Cheyer

What does it take to create a world-changing, disruptive technical innovation?   The history and technology behind Siri, the world’s first intelligent computer assistant, is described here by Adam Cheyer, one of the founders of Siri, the SRI company bought by Steve Jobs for use on the iPhone-4.  Siri added tens of billions of dollars of market value to Apple and profoundly changed the way the world thinks about interacting with computers.   (more…)

Innovation for Jobs

I4J Conference

David Nordfors & Vint Cerf

From around the world sixty invited experts on areas of innovation gathered at Google yesterday at the “Innovation for Jobs Ecosystem Conference.”  The conference co-chairs were David Nordfors (founder and director of the center for Innovation Journalism) and Vint Cerf (“father” of the Internet and National Medal of Technology winner).

Innovation is the basis for prosperity and the creation of new jobs but it is also responsible for job destruction and major societal change.  One overriding question is whether we will be able to create enough net new jobs going forward?  This issue is of great concern across the world. (more…)

DNA, Luck, or Skill?

The Discipline and Practice of Innovation  

Working web4.001
Creating a high-value innovation architecture

Innovation is not the result of a lone genius or luck.  There are innovative superstars, but most professionals can be successful innovators once they learn how.  And, since we all have customers, we should all be creating more value for them.  Innovation is a disciplined process based on fundamental concepts from the learning sciences combined with best practices from the world’s most successful innovators.  (more…)

Innovation’s Importance

“Our most important innovation is the way we work”

Mighty Mite
The New Yorker: Searching for the Perfect Athlete

Since innovation is the primary driver of human progress, activities that speed up or improve innovative success have special importance.  There are many inputs that can improve innovative performance, including education, government policy, and investments.  But ultimately they impact how we work — how we create value for our customers — how we innovate.  

Today’s innovative performance is generally poor.  It is reminiscent of the terrible manufacturing quality and high cost of products after WW II.  But that changed with the pioneering innovations of Deming, Juran, and Ohno and the advent of total quality management (TQM). At first the power of continuous improvement based on fundamental learning and improvement concepts was unappreciated, but over time performance was revolutionized.  With TQM, cost and quality have both been transformed, often by hundreds of times compared to the 1950s.  Today almost every manufacturing and service enterprise uses some version of TQM. (more…)