At the end of the month, you’ll be able to attend our exec programme in Sydney.
It’s two days of intensive involvement in innovation. Block those dates – 1st and 2nd May.

Article cover

Harvard Business Review published our article on Stealth Innovation, detailing how to make innovation happen under the radar inside a company.

The article is adapted from our book Innovation as Usual. Excerpt of the article below:

The Case For Stealth Innovation

by Paddy Miller and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

You have an idea for a daring, innovative project that could have a significant impact on your business. However, you suspect that your idea will meet with internal resistance: The innovation would upend the status quo, and chances are good that other parts of the organization will try to stop it. What’s your next step?

The conventional answer is simple: Get a mandate from the top. As many innovation experts rightly point out, only the most incremental ideas pass through the corporate-approvals gantlet unscathed. The more unusual your idea, the larger the risk that it will fall victim to turf wars, myopic incentive systems, or simple resistance to change. For this reason, innovators are often counseled to go straight to the top, secure backing at the highest possible level, and build a corporate sense of urgency around their ideas.

The “top first” strategy, however, carries its own risks. CEOs of large organizations are constantly barraged with proposals for new, untested projects, and typically, the ideas get a five-minute perusal followed by a “no.” And even if your idea does win support from the C-suite, early exposure is a double-edged sword: It buys you legitimacy and resources, but it also thrusts you squarely into the corporate spotlight—and that can be a dangerous place for young, unproven ideas. Our experience working with innovative managers has revealed an alternative approach: innovating under the radar. [...]

Read the full article on

Our new study of Chief Innovation Officers, surveying 260 innovation executives and done in collaboration with CapGemini, has now been released and has been picked up by Wall Street JournalForbes and others.

Among the main conclusions:

  • 43 percent of companies now have a Chief Innovation Officer, up from 33 percent last year, but the role is still nascent and undefined.
  • The number one obstacle for innovation is the lack of an explicit innovation strategy – something that 58 percent of companies do not have.
  • Only 26 percent of companies have clear Key Performance Indicators for innovation

Read the full report online or download the PDF or the PowerPoint version on SlideShare.

IESE Insight Review has just published our article on building an innovation culture.  The article is based on our research and interviews we conducted with innovation managers and leaders from 22 companies.  It is available here courtesy of the review.

We recently conducted a joint survey with Capgemini Consulting that targeted managers and leaders of innovation.  The survey looked into formal and informal mechanisms for managing innovation.  The final report will be out in early 2012.  Here we share a couple of results from the section on innovation culture, concerning how widespread the mandate for creating a culture of innovation is becoming and the perceived source of an innovation culture.

Paddy Miller was a speaker at the Creative Innovation 2011 conference.

A good post from K@W on innovation panelists’ definitions of innovation accompanied by examples from their companies.

Booz & Co. has released its annual Global Innovation 1000 survey results. This year’s edition is called Why Culture Is Key. To its thread of the importance of aligning innovation strategy with overall corporate strategy, Booz adds the importance of aligning a company’s culture with its innovation strategy.

We have been emphasizing the link between culture and innovation for some time now.  It is fairly self-evident however that bolting it down becomes more difficult, as can be seen in the Global Innovation 1000 report – the authors’ most relevant finding is that “there is no statistically significant relationship between financial performance and innovation spending…” but they still proceed to dedicate more than half of their study to reading meaning into that non-existent link.

The Innovation Architect programme includes a section on the lessons gained from watching conductors at work conducting great orchestras. However here Paddy Miller questions Ben Zander, Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, about whether it’s all emotion and of little practical value.

Financial Times article discusses multinationals’ attempts to create a self-policing culture of accountability in distant workforces, and the desirability of cultural transfer in both directions between a parent and its foreign operations.


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