Innovation

How a Group of NASA Renegades Transformed Mission Control

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 8 min 

NASA’s Pirates were rebel innovators who created an award-winning mission control system for the shuttle program in record time, on a shoestring budget, and in the face of political resistance. Such renegades are committed to elevating business capabilities and future proofing them for novel challenges, often despite opposition from the status quo. Organizations that want to be ambidextrous need to create a climate that fosters such renegades and nurtures them when they appear.

Four Ways to Get Your Innovation Unit to Work

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 7 min 

Considering how deeply companies rely on innovation, it is astonishing how bad most of them are at finding, developing, and implementing new ideas. When it comes to innovation, there is no single best way to structure and operate internal teams. The real key to success is to find the tools and structure that fit your company’s needs, strategies, and culture.

The Only Way Manufacturers Can Survive

Although most manufacturers are beginning to flirt with digital technologies, not one has successfully pulled off a digital transformation. CEOs still have to figure out its art — and science — forcing them to draw up their game plans on the fly, which inevitably leads to tension and trauma. But they are learning. Here’s how GE has navigated its own digital transformation process.

How to Read and Respond to Weak Digital Signals

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 8 min 

In the digital age, the competitive landscape can be transformed in the blink of an eye. Companies can use weak digital signals to help redefine their offerings and the scale and scope of how they compete. Companies that can’t do this in a timely manner put themselves at a competitive disadvantage because they must invest in additional resources to catch up.

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Nondisruptive Creation: Rethinking Innovation and Growth

Many people have come to view disruption as a synonym for innovation. This single-minded focus leads companies to overlook an alternative path to growth: the nondisruptive creation of brand-new markets where none existed before. It’s time to embrace the idea that companies can create without destroying — and expand the conversation about the problems they can solve and the opportunities they can seize.

When Patients Become Innovators

Patients are increasingly developing sophisticated medical devices and services to meet their own needs — often without help from companies that produce or sell medical products. In this way they are able to benefit from advances that aren’t commercially available. Here, we’ll look at two examples — a solution for managing Type 1 diabetes and one for managing Crohn’s disease — and consider them within the context of the free innovation movement that’s gaining momentum across industries.

Understanding China’s Next Wave of Innovation

In recent years, a handful of Chinese companies like Alibaba, Haier, and Tencent have garnered a lot of attention as they have emerged as global innovators. They are challenging the R&D strategies of foreign companies and offering lessons on how to make ideas commercially viable. But there’s another, less obvious force to be reckoned with in China: thousands of innovative companies that are quietly disrupting numerous industries and developing new products and new business models.

Act Like a Startup

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 7 min 

As leaders of established businesses focus on becoming digital, they often embrace the mantra, act like a startup. A startup is an experiment, and its early goal is to learn, as quickly and inexpensively as possible, if an idea has merit. That same ability to figure out how a new value proposition might create revenues and profits is key to digital success. Established companies that want to test ideas for such propositions should be nurturing four traits of startups.

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Grow Faster by Changing Your Innovation Narrative

Companies aspiring to organic growth leadership in their industries should start with a coherent, affirming innovation narrative and reinforce it with action. The authors tested 18 well-known innovation levers and identified the four that organic growth leaders use most to stay ahead of competitors: (1) invest in innovation talent, (2) encourage prudent risk-taking, (3) adopt a customer-centric innovation process, and (4) align metrics and recognition with innovation activity.

The Promise of Targeted Innovation

The biggest consumer goods companies shell out more than $1 billion a year for R&D but lately have seen no appreciable impact on their sales. That’s troubling for companies whose growth has leveled off in recent years. In contrast, some smaller competitors that spend less on R&D — but do so more shrewdly — have seen a significant boost in sales.

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Key Words for Digital Transformation

By many rights, one might have expected to find Adobe on the register of companies disrupted by digital. And yet the 35-year-old software developer has persevered by embracing the very technological forces ― think cloud, mobile, platforms, IoT ― that could have meant its demise. The result? This legacy producer of packaged software designed for the desktop is thriving.

Driving Sustainability-Oriented Innovation

Faced with mounting challenges and pressure from governments, nongovernmental organizations, investors, and employees to be more aware of the environmental and social impacts of business activities, many companies are attempting to tap into the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of their employees, encouraging them to develop new products, services, or business models that create value for both the company and society.

The Truth About Behavioral Change

In this article drawn from his new book, How Behavior Spreads, UPenn professor Damon Centola explains how the thinking about social networks is changing. Recent research reveals that depending on long-established concepts such as “weak ties” and “long bridges” to drive the adoption of new innovations and organizational change can be a prescription for failure.

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