Most of my projects involves innovation in some flavour: new product design, software development, customer engagement or operational process change and many more aspects. I work on a project (contract) basis, typically 6 month and longer projects with clients.  Presently I am coming to the end of some contracts and on the search for new ones. Many times this involves tendering, networking and plain old job searches in various job recruitment websites.

Frequently I am amused when looking at innovation management, project management with innovation positions (not pure new product development roles): Candidates must have X years, Y experience, Z skills but all in the area of the position.

Surely innovation needs a broader skill set. Bringing in experience from difference fields, sectors and life in general. Do they understand the term innovation, I often wonder ?

Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself. Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than doing the same thing better.

Yes, we need a sound platform to work from, an understanding of the environment that a position requires is necessary, but surely still missing the point. If you come from a company in a similar field to another, what can you offer in terms of innovation other than product or sector knowledge.



What can you bring to the table?

  • Do you or can you bring a different perspective on a problem?
  • Have you the ability to re-frame the problem in a different lense (design thinking) ?
  • Can you bring empathy to the project, customer understanding and engagement skills?
  • Being Creative?
  • Curiosity as to why it something works as it is.

Working in the innovation sphere, in my opinion needs a well rounded skill set. Ability to use a diverse toolkit; brainstorming, listening, empathy, understanding, patience and more besides.


Innovation the IDEO Way


Innovation the IDEO Way

Today we attended a seminar on Innovation, Design Thinking and the IDEO way. IDEO are a San Francisco based organisation that specialise in designing new concepts for clients and have develop their own methods accordingly. They celebrate the success of succeeding, And learn from their mistakes, perhaps even celebrate a little.

It is better to fail often to succeed quicker.

The Ideo Way is a process to understand the client brief, perform customer research, brainstorm, design concepts, trial and feedback into better products.

  • Set up your goals
  • Problem – establish the current situation of the problem
  • Customer research – survey the entire value chain of your product/service/process
  • Share the information found with others in your team
  • No Solution discussed, state the facts
  • Deep Dive – Brainstorming each areas that was highlighted by customer research
  • No critism, self censorship or bad ideas tolerated
  • Vote for ideas
  • Categorise Views, to refelect areas or needs establisthed earlier
  • Prototype – one of a kind to visualise the concept, by focused teams
  • Combine these into a design
  • Celebrate having a concrete product that people can visualise
  • Review with the customer for feedback
  • Take feedback and review product to understand if any greater improvement can be gained