Innovation: Before You Innovate, Ask the Right Questions

Ask the right questions before innovatingAlbert Einstein is often quoted (perhaps apocryphally) as saying, “If I had 20 days to solve a problem, I would spend 19 days to define it.” Innovation is a particularly sticky problem because it so often remains undefined. We treat it as a monolith, as if every innovation is the same, which is why so many expensive programs end up going nowhere. So how should we go about it? Should we hand it over to the guys with white lab coats, an external partner, a specialist in the field, crowdsource it, or what? Before handing them off, you need a clear framework for defining innovation problems and approaches that are most likely to resolve them. Defining a managerial approach to innovation starts with developing a better understanding of the problem we need to solve. I’ve found asking two basic questions can be enormously helpful.

Before You Innovate, Ask the Right QuestionsAlbert Einstein is often quoted (perhaps apocryphally) as saying, “If I had 20 days to solve a problem, I would spend 19 days to define it.” Innovation is a particularly sticky problem because it so often remains undefined. We treat it as a monolith, as if every innovation is the same, which is why so many expensive programs end up going nowhere. So how should we go about it? Should we hand it over to the guys with white lab coats, an external partner, a specialist in the field, crowdsource it, or what? Before handing them off, you need a clear framework for defining innovation problems and approaches that are most likely to resolve them. Defining a managerial approach to innovation starts with developing a better understanding of the problem we need to solve. I’ve found asking two basic questions can be enormously helpful.

via Hbr

 

 

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