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On innovation vs. strategy

From: Business Innovation Fundamentals

Video: On innovation vs. strategy

There's a very important link between innovation and strategy, but to be honest with you, I see companies and teams that struggle with this. They're neither not aware of it or they're just not quite sure how to think about it, and I'll be quite honest with you. I kind of stumbled on this notion one day when I was at my previous company, Johnson & Johnson. I was working with a team that was developing some new ideas around a very mature product, a medical device product.

On innovation vs. strategy

There's a very important link between innovation and strategy, but to be honest with you, I see companies and teams that struggle with this. They're neither not aware of it or they're just not quite sure how to think about it, and I'll be quite honest with you. I kind of stumbled on this notion one day when I was at my previous company, Johnson & Johnson. I was working with a team that was developing some new ideas around a very mature product, a medical device product.

This device hadn't been innovated in - it hadn't changed really in like 25 years, but we applied systematic methods to it and we, honestly, we came up with a lot of really great ideas, a lot of them. In fact, we came up with so many ideas, the team leader, a guy named Nick, he came up to me and says "Drew, what are we going to do now? "How are we going to make sense of all these ideas? "How are we going to filter them down?" And as it turns out, we were using a marketing strategy model.

It's a model called The Big Picture. It was developed by a colleague and a dear friend of mine, Christie Nordhielm, at the University of Michigan. It's a 2x2 matrix with strategy options in them. It's probably the easiest way to think about it. And what I said to Nick, I said, Look, I don't know if this will work, but let's try it. What if we took every idea and we found a home of where it belongs on this 2x2 strategy matrix. In other words, let's take this idea and say, hmm, does it belong in this quadrant or this quadrant.

Right? And so, for the say 120 ideas we had, we mapped them up on the wall on this strategy grid and you should've seen the looks on people's faces. They're looking at it like this, and they're thinking, oh my God, look at the cluster of really great ideas down here in what we call quadrant three of the strategy grid. And that's when the light bulb went off in my head. I thought, my God, we have just linked innovation and strategy. Let me finish the story.

What happened then is I could see the team thinking, you know, we thought our strategy was up here in what what's called quadrant two, but as you look at the cluster of great ideas down here in quadrant three, they were making up their mind and saying, you know, we should make that our strategy. And the revelation for me was that the innovation was driving the choice of strategy. Now, it can work the other way too. You can say, hey, we are definitely in quadrant two for many reasons, we have no control over that.

Ok great, now when you run your innovation workshops, what you do during the ideation session is you say, guys, our strategy is quadrant two. We can't change that, so whenever you come up with an idea, make sure it has a quadrant two effect in it. In other words, embed the intent of your strategy. That's strategy informs innovation. So there's two directions to link innovation and strategy. Strategy informs innovation. Innovation informs strategy.

Which one is right? They're both right, but pick one. At least do one of them. Don't let your innovation be divorced of your strategy. Otherwise it's going to end up with a lot of ideas that are really not mainstream. The senior leadership is going to look at them and say you know, you're kind of out of bounds here. Bring it back home, get right on top of the strategy, and you're going to come up with ideas that the senior leadership's going to be thrilled about.

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Business Innovation Fundamentals

58 video lessons · 3227 viewers

Drew Boyd
Author

 
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  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Using the exercise files
      19s
  2. 21m 37s
    1. What is innovation? Introducing Systematic Inventive Thinking
      3m 21s
    2. The principle of function follows form
      4m 8s
    3. The closed-world principle
      4m 16s
    4. Characteristics of innovative products and services
      3m 51s
    5. Challenging the myth of thinking outside the box
      3m 11s
    6. Challenging the myth of serendipity
      2m 50s
  3. 11m 55s
    1. Functional fixedeness
      2m 26s
    2. The subtraction technique
      2m 59s
    3. Subtraction in action
      4m 8s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 22s
  4. 10m 35s
    1. Structural fixedness
      2m 32s
    2. The division technique
      2m 43s
    3. Division in action
      3m 3s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 17s
  5. 16m 25s
    1. The multiplication technique
      4m 24s
    2. Multiplication in action
      4m 39s
    3. Zooming in and zooming out
      4m 51s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 31s
  6. 15m 45s
    1. The task-unification technique
      4m 19s
    2. Task unification in action
      4m 14s
    3. Using task unification for business issues
      4m 27s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 45s
  7. 17m 49s
    1. The attribute dependency technique
      3m 32s
    2. Creating an attribute dependency matrix
      3m 37s
    3. Types of dependencies
      4m 12s
    4. Attribute dependency in action
      4m 31s
    5. Addressing common challenges
      1m 57s
  8. 27m 7s
    1. Running ideation workshops
      4m 13s
    2. Which technique to use
      3m 26s
    3. Creating new services and processes
      3m 17s
    4. Creating digital innovations
      5m 12s
    5. Involving customers
      5m 49s
    6. Evaluating ideas
      5m 10s
  9. 14m 48s
    1. Mastering innovative thinking
      3m 42s
    2. Building a pilot program
      3m 56s
    3. Addressing organizational challenges with innovation
      4m 3s
    4. Next steps
      3m 7s
  10. 52m 41s
    1. About Drew
      2m 9s
    2. What is innovation?
      51s
    3. What got Drew started in innovation?
      2m 15s
    4. On innovation as a skill
      1m 53s
    5. On innovation as part of your business
      1m 58s
    6. On resistance to innovation
      3m 31s
    7. On innovation's tainted image
      2m 34s
    8. Where do you apply innovation strategies?
      2m 31s
    9. Who should lead an innovation effort?
      3m 6s
    10. On favorite innovation experiences
      3m 51s
    11. On innovation vs. strategy
      3m 36s
    12. On working with innovation consultants
      3m 20s
    13. On trends in innovation
      3m 26s
    14. On innovation as competition
      2m 32s
    15. On innovative companies
      2m 43s
    16. On generating vs. executing ideas
      3m 2s
    17. Can you overdo innovation?
      2m 1s
    18. How do you start innovating?
      3m 44s
    19. On the most innovative products
      3m 38s

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