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On Facebook, President Obama has over 27 million followers to Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s 1.9 million, giving the President an edge in digital campaigning.
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It’s not easy to develop a breakthrough innovation in an established company and bring it to market successfully — and even more challenging to do so more than once. In their new book, Serial Innovators: How Individuals Create and Deliver Breakthrough Innovations in Mature Firms, authors Abbie Griffin, Raymond L. Price and Bruce A. Vojak describe several years of research they have conducted about a type of employee who can do just that.
Research in creativity shows that giving employees unstructured time — on company time — is a concrete way to reward innovative activity.
Innovation strategy expert Vijay Govindarajan thinks that businesses should be careful not to abandon innovation in their quest for efficiency and cost control during a recession — but they may need to reduce their focus on risky breakthrough innovation plans.
How important is collaboration to breakthrough innovation? And, conversely, how significant are the contributions of inventors who work alone? In a recent working paper, Lee Fleming of Harvard and Jasjit Singh of INSEAD take a new look at this topic.
For any breakthrough innovation project, specific objectives are often unclear or highly malleable, and the paths to them are murky. Rather than feign a certainty that doesn’t exist, project managers need a systematic, disciplined framework for turning uncertainty into useful learning that keeps the project tacking on a successful course.
To understand how breakthroughs in creativity occur, managers must understand how most collaborations work. “Managers first need to understand that invention is essentially a process of recombinant search,” writes Lee Fleming. “That is, I adopt the classic definition of invention as a new combination of components, ideas or processes.” Fleming adds that “Almost all inventions are useless; a few are of moderate value; and only a very, very few are breakthroughs. Those breakthroughs constitute the ‘long tail’ of innovation.”
People commonly talk about the energy (or lack thereof) associated with certain individuals or company initiatives. Managers can translate such talk into action that creates more energy, improves performance and fosters learning.
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