"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."
Showing posts with label Innovation Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Innovation Management. Show all posts

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Start a Learning Journal, in which you record your evolution, where, at a minimum, ...

Every Day YOU:

• learn three new words

• read one new article

• write a paragraph on anything

• draw something (1) that is in front of you (2) from your imagination

• learn three items of general knowledge

• get three new ideas on how to improve something

• meet new people

• be kind to people, plants, animals, and to our planet

• think happy thoughts (say ‘I love you’ to the world)

• review all the items that you have recorded in your journal

• perform at least one good deed! and integrate the above steps into a business strategy for continual returns on innovation!

Ask yourself the following questions:

• In what ways am I a business innovator? What expertise have I gained? What tools am I equipped with?

• Do I have access to innovation role models? Are there any innovation senseis in my organisation who will nurture me, and help me to ignite innovation?

• Does my company culture encourage experimentation? If so, how feasible is it for me to get financial support to pursue my ideas? How many levels of bureaucracy would I have to go through?

• Is expertise in innovation a core component of my job description? Does a part of my compensation depend on my innovation performance?

• Do my organisation’s management processes support my efforts as an innovator, or hinder it?

• Can I confidently declare that my organisation has established an all-encompassing, corporate-wide innovation system?

If your answer is NO to any of these questions, start doing something about it!

[Excerpted from the 1st subscription issue of 'Igniting Innovation', in The Braindancer Series of bookazines, by Dilip Mukerjea. All images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Dilip Mukerjea & I share a lot in common:

- we are engineers by training;

- we have been globe-trotters in our own ways;

- we are voracious readers;

[That's how Catherine & I met Dilip during the mid-nineties, as we had then owned a bookstore. Dilip happened to find us by chance one day. When he stepped into our store for the first time, he was overwhelmed by all the great stuff, & subsequently, was made poorer by more than a thousand dollars! That's also why Dilip always remember Catherine.];

- we are fellow explorers in the field of creativity & innovation;

- more importantly, we like to urge corporations & professionals, to be changeable & change-ready!

The way we see it, they have two options:

- they can stand still, & wait to see what happens; or

- they can charge ahead with an eye on the future!

In reality, they can’t afford to stand still, because, as one futurist (Peter Bishop?) once said:

“Change is uncertain, but stagnation is fatal.”

In fact, Dilip Mukerjea poses a very pertinent question to drive home the urgency:

Are you killing yourself or are you skilling yourself?

We both strongly believe that, with creativity & innovation as our intellectual trampoline, so to speak, we can learn to deal with the future.

Developing change-readiness, mental flexibility, & operational agility is imperative in order for all us to stay relevant with changing times, & not to be made extinct by turbulent changes that come our way.

The two Scandinavian strategy consultants, Yves Doz & Mikko Kosonen, have brilliantly illustrated the urgency by introducing the term, "strategic agility", in their excellent book, 'Fast Strategy: How Strategic Agility will Help you Stay Ahead of the Game'.

Many years earlier, Mercer Management Consulting, through the great works of their former VPs, Adrian Slywotzky & Robert Duboff, had introduced their unique term, "strategic anticipation".

I particularly like foresight strategist & scenario planner Adam Gordon's latest fancy term: "future savvy".

Come to think of it, 'Innovate or Evaporate!' rings very true! I reckon it becomes more urgent for companies & their CEOs to move their butts, because elephants are slow to dance.

At this juncture, I like to share with readers a few selected excerpts from the book, 'Surfing the Intellect: Building Intellectual Capital for a Knowledge Economy', by Dilip Mukerjea:

"Perspectives for the New Millennium:

Are you relevant to the future or relegated to the past?

The world is changing economically, culturally, socially, politically, technologically, environmentally, and competitively.

Every individual must change in step with these world changes.

So must corporations and the human capital within them.

Unless you are prepared for all these scenarios, you are prepared for none of them. Ask yourself, are you busy preparing for a set of careers that will soon be obsolete?

We need creativity and innovation to live in a world where multiple realities have become the norm. Yet, each set of multiple realities poses a challenge, because no two people occupy the same slice of consciousness about anything.

We just do not occupy the same knowledge space, often seeking refuge in our private sanctuaries of specialisation.

Skills in creativity equip us with the capacity to succeed in the future. If we fail, it is because of a failure of imagination in the present. More than ever, you’ve got to aim for what you can’t expect to get. The marketspace of commerce has become a single global bazaar.

To be a viable player in this marketspace, we need to develop intellectual capital skills.

This means creativity, innovation, leadership, verbal and visual literacy, team play, and humanity towards one another.

Are you in the forefront of innovation, or have you receded into the white noise of your organisation’s background?

If it is the latter, consider getting outside the box so as to get inside the solution. We must integrate our diverse needs as members of today’s share of consciousness.

These are exciting times, ones that electrify a creative world where we are witness to collisions of chaos.

The Forces of Creation:

Combinations are spark plugs for creative combustion. An item by itself is a unilateral entity ~ filled with potential, but static, until it meets another. Then whoosh! Creativity!

All of us harbour forces within us. Within the vast ocean of consciousness, we have it in us to set loose a groundswell that can explode into mighty waves of unstoppable magnitude.

When we surf along these waves of human dynamism, our destination becomes inevitable. Often unplanned, serendipitously, we reach the shores of wonder. Such terrains, alive with infinite waves of potential, define the human intellect.

May the rhythm of your spirit create a song in your heart. May you never be the same!

Bureaucreative Perspectives:

Ideas are the raw material from which financial results are made.

Research exhibits the alarming fact that two-thirds of the companies listed on the inaugural Fortune 500 list in 1954 had either vanished or were no longer big enough to make the list on its fortieth anniversary. Why?

Lack of ideas to navigate through the shoals of change.

The world of ideas is emerging from the womb of creativity.

Metaphorically, it has been likened to a new tennis ball — fuzzy, but with a lot of bounce. This New World is becoming less fuzzy every day, but with a lot more bounce. Isn’t it time to knock the fuzz off the tennis ball?

"The things we fear most in organizations -- fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances -- are the primary sources of creativity." ~ Margaret J. Wheatley

Today’s corporate world is filled with executives that want someone to give them plug-and-play answers. How many such executives can you recognise in your organisation?

The future of middle management is extinction. Are the symptoms visible in your organisation? Are you becoming fossilised?

“Ideas have power by themselves. They can accumulate without travelling through an institution, and then suddenly explode.” — Michael Brown, CFO Microsoft

"The person who can combine frames of reference and draw connections between ostensibly unrelated points of view is likely to be the one who makes the creative breakthrough." — Denise Shekerjian

"Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training." — Anna Freud

Thomas Stewart writes that half of what a freshman engineering student learns is obsolete by the time she graduates; the obsolescence of electronics knowledge is so fast that techies use the phrase “Internet years” the way children say “dog years.”

Liam Fahey, a professor at Babson College and a stalwart of the Strategic Leadership Forum, likes to pose the following question: “How long will it take before half the knowledge you need in your job is obsolete?” If he poses it to a group, a third of the audience members usually say that the half-life of their knowledge is less than two years, another third that it’s less than five years.

Like money in a mattress, says Hugh Macdonald, “intellectual capital is useless unless it moves. It’s no good having some guy who is very wise and sits alone in a room.”

This is totally applicable to the world of ideas … ‘bureaucratic’ needs to make way for ‘bureau-creative’!!!

Getting results from investing in creativity requires a corporate culture that allows it to flow freely. This simply means scrapping rules that stifle new ideas."

Well, you just got to read the entire book to make yourself more creative & recreative.

As the author puts it:

"This book incorporate a spectrum of contemporary applications designed to meet today's corporate & educational needs. The vast repertoire of knowledge & techniques cater to our diverse areas of performance. We now know that our primary source of wealth lies in the development of intellectual capital. You will find the ingredients between these pages."

[For readers' information: Adrian Slywotzky wrote 'Profit Patterns: 30 Ways to Anticipate & Profit from Strategic Forces Reshaping Your Business'; Robert Duboff, 'Market Research Matters: Tools & Techniques for Aligning Your Business'; Adam Gordon, 'Future Savvy: Identifying Trends to Make Better Decisions, Manage Uncertainty, & Profit from Change '. All my personal favourites!]

Friday, January 30, 2009


[Extracted from the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.]

Ever since reading 'Winning the Innovation Game' & also listening to the audio compilation, 'Innovative Secrets of Success', at the tail end of the eighties or so, I have always been impressed by the work of innovation strategist Robert Tucker.

In fact, I even had a brief fax correspondence with the author during the early nineties, during which he had generously offered me some additional valuable information.

I had also read his subsequent book, 'Managing the Future: 10 Driving Forces of Change', & its audio version, 'How to Profit from Today's Rapid Changes', as well as many of his other interesting articles in magazines, newsletters or on the web since then.

For me, after a perusal, 'Driving Growth through Innovation' seems more like an intellectual expansion of his earlier work, 'Winning the Innovation Game', with substantial refinement of the stuff he has spent the last twenty years in studying, researching & consulting.

From my personal perspective, 'Winning the Innovation Game' was a broad-brush of his findings from some 50 innovative companies during the early years.

In contrast, 'Driving Growth through Innovation' is a more in-depth analysis of the success factors of what he has designated as the 23 Innovation Vanguard companies. BMW is one of them.

What I like about the book so fondly is his artful blending & skillful machinations on how to master innovation as a "disciplined, systematic & repeatable process" in an organisation.

I certainly like his expressed belief in the Introduction, that "you'll grow as an individual in the process of mastering innovation".

That's to say, what applies in an organisational setting also works well in the personal setting, as far as the pursuit of innovation is concerned.

The author writes very eloquently & succinctly. The book is spiced with provoking questions & relevant strategy checklists.

In fact, I dare to say that very, very few innovation authors have adopted his innovative presentation style.

There are only 10 chapters, but he followed up - & peppered - each chapter of the book with "magical numbers", as follows:

Chapter 1: What It takes to Drive Growth:
5 essential practices that undergird business growth;

Chapter 2: Leading Innovation:
3 types of innovation; assessing your firm's Innovation Adeptness against 10 criteria;
6 most important leadership functions in building an all-enterprise innovation capability;

Chapter 3: Cultivating the Culture:
11 strategies designed to guide you in improving your firm's culture for greater innovation effectiveness;

Chapter 4: Fortifying the Idea Factory:
7 distinct methods of idea management,
plus 7 suggestions to guide you in designing & implementing a system;

plus 10 guidelines to keep in mind as you consider how best to empower the process;

Chapter 5: Mining the Future:
6 strategies innovation-adept firms are using to analyse trends;
3 critical components to developing your own future scan system;

Chapter 6: Filling the Idea Funnel:
6 strategies to ensure a steady stream of good ideas;

Chapter 7: Producing Powerful Products:
6 strategies to master the art of deriving business value from innovation;

Chapter 8: Generating Growth Strategies:
6 places to jump start your search for imaginative new business models for your firm;

[I like what he wrote: "Strategy innovation is, first & foremost, an act of imagination - the ability to see how something could work better from the customer's standpoint, in a way that in turn profits the sponsoring firm".]

Chapter 9: Selling New Ideas:
7 strategies for selling new ideas;

[Another good point from the author: "Innovation has always been about selling ideas".]

Chapter 10: Taking Action in Your Firm:
7 areas to look at prior to preparing an Innovation Initiative;

How do you like that? For me, that really makes perusal - & digestion - a breeze as you can zero into the brass tacks very quickly.

The author has focused primarily on what actually works, not fancy theories. Just pure insights from the battlefield trenches of 21st century innovators!

In spite of his two-decades' experience working with companies to improve innovation, the author has rightly & humbly admitted that he "rode on the shoulders of giants" in writing the book.

In this respect, I reckon that the author has fashioned his thinking as well as rethinking about strategy innovation from the work of Peter Drucker, who was the first among all the gurus out there to assert that "innovation is a disciplined, systematic & repeatable process".

To end this post, I would recommend reading Peter Drucker's 'Innovation & Entrepreneurship' as well as Michel Robert's 'Innovation Formula' as thought companions. They will certainly be worth your while.