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.

An interesting wine industry discussion on innovating follows a blog post by Christopher Dolan on Paddy Miller’s World Innovation Forum talk. A separate post by him outlines the key insights from Paddy’s presentation at the forum.

The World Innovation Forum took place in New York last week. Paddy Miller was a speaker, and his presentation will be outlined in a separate post. Here we summarize the thinking presented at the Forum this year, which touched on design, disruption, ecosystems, customization, culture, leadership, and conventional management getting in the way of innovation.

Disruptive Innovation

Clayton Christensen opened the forum with a talk on disruptive innovation. He suggested that a reason previously unassailable companies fail is that they follow principles of good management and seek profit in higher-end markets. It is in the area of lesser performance, however, that there is opportunity for disruptive innovation, for simple products for those who couldn’t afford them before, he said. He cited the idea that Japan is lost because it is focusing on the high-end only and has lost ground to other Asian countries. Japan doesn’t have the labor market mobility and venture capital structure that exist in the U.S., Christensen said, and the U.S. should continue stoking its microeconomic engines for macro stability, lest it end up like Japan. Christensen also criticized the exhortation by business schools to focus on core competence and outsource the rest, because it looks at the past rather than at what is needed to be good at tomorrow. The second part of his talk focused on healthcare, where he advocates moving away from an over-expensive reliance on experts to decentralizing, commoditizing and personalizing healthcare.


Larry Huston, who headed Procter & Gamble’s Connect+Develop open innovation initiative, said he wanted to talk about how to make money with open innovation. He gave examples of companies that had opened up, such as a mining company that put details of its land online and requested analyses for where to drill; Pringles chips searching outside for a method to print ink onto chips; and a medical center in China opening up to bring in intellectual development.

The vertical model is gone, Huston said, and the new economic model is partnering. The return on investment with connected innovation is twice what you would get developing it yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

The Financial Times just published an article of ours, on the topic of innovation in big companies.

See as a PDF of the print version or online on FT’s website.