Stories, moments, people and ideas of interest from within the worlds of innovation and design, spotted and written about by Helen Walters, design writer, editor, and ideas editor at TED. Attitude, errors and opinions obviously all the writer's own.
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November 6, 2012
"Most organizations are afraid to show unfinished work. But the real fear should come from making policies and spending money on programs that have been developed in a vacuum with no user feedback. That’s why prototyping speeds innovation, leads to better solutions, and saves money."
As Americans head to the polls on Election Day, Parade runs Attention, Mr. President: No Politics, Just Our Solutions, a piece featuring ideas for the next President from a host of smarties, including the former U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker discussing the fiscal cliff, Geoffrey Canada of Harlem Children’s Zone on education— and Sarah Stein Greenberg, managing director at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (and a Monitor alum) describing some tools for Fostering Innovation. Whoever wins today (and god knows I have my preference), these are smart ideas to heed. I love this, from Sarah:
Each federal agency that reports to the President should pick one thorny problem to tackle. Each week they try a solution and by Friday they owe the President a report on the results: What failed, what was learned, and what’s next.
This should not seem like a crazily impractical idea. This is how innovation actually works. Come on, Mr President. Make it so.
"Rather than hoping that their future will emerge from a collection of ad hoc, stand-alone efforts that compete with one another for time, money, attention, and prestige, they manage for “total innovation.”"
— Managing Your Innovation Portfolio is the lead feature story in this month’s Harvard Business Review. Written by my colleagues, Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff, the piece describes the practice of “total innovation,” by which executives can simultaneously invest in three levels of innovation ambition: core; adjacent and transformational. Most crucially, the system allows them to manage the balance between the three and thus avoid the many factors that commonly trip up innovation initiatives. Super interesting premise, and well worth the read (if you can get behind HBR’s paywall, that is.)
"Making the switch from “Should we do this?” to “How can we make it happen?” can provide the defining moment of any innovation project. It’s also the moment where many innovations founder. By focusing on what’s practically achievable, or trying to predict possible growth in year five, clients regularly miss the ability to deliver a new, improved experience—and lasting growth."