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Woody Bendle is back today with an innovation process lesson all about how innovation success depends on finding things that won’t work. Here’s Woody! 

Innovation Process – Prepare to Find Ways that Won’t Work

“I haven’t failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas A. Edison

Innovation-ProcessFor most, the innovation process probably feels a lot like this quote from Edison. Attempt after attempt just keeps coming up a little (or a lot) short. Not only can this be frustrating, it can also be costly. I’m not only talking about the costs associated with the ‘failed’ innovation attempts – those are actually the costs of doing business in today’s economy. But rather, I’m talking about these types of experiences resulting in the pursuit of innovation being aborted altogether. That’s more than costly; that’s a death sentence for your business!

The thing is though, if you are taking calculated risks in an attempt to create a new future, this is exactly what it will feel like.

You are absolutely going to find many many ways and things that won’t work. And why shouldn’t you? You’re attempting to do something that has not been done before, and for which, there is no known outcome.  Unless you’ve got a crystal ball, I can guarantee you that you will encounter many ways that won’t work!  So be prepared.

5 Components of Innovation Preparedness

The innovation process is essentially an experiment. Even if the overall outcome doesn’t turn out like you had envisioned or hoped, it can still be a highly valuable experiment! That is, as long as you are prepared.

In order to maximize your innovation learning and chances for future successes, you need to prepare yourself and your organization for the inevitable, which is, finding ways that won’t work – and learning from it!

There are at least five things you need to be prepared for as you pursue innovation. You need to be prepared to:

  1. Find way’s that won’t work – but that doesn’t mean you should go into an innovation attempt planning to fail!
  2. Figure out why your attempt (or which aspects of your attempt) didn’t work.
  3. Rigorously dissect every dimension of your innovation attempt along the way to determine which aspects of it are successful.
  4. Memorialize and socialize what you’ve learned
  5. Refine your current attempt (or even start all over again) by leveraging everything you have learned.

If you adhere to the five innovation preparedness elements above as you embark upon each and every innovation initiative, you will significantly increase your chances for future successful innovation!

Now let’s get innovating! – Woody Bendle

 

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6 Responses to “Innovation Process – 5 Components of Innovation Preparedness by Woody Bendle”

  1. Scott Langfeldt says:

    Woody,

    Thanks for this. I think you will agree, the key to moving the needle up in the long run is to make sure you actually move the needle in the first place, up or down. The worst possible result (with some exceptions) is to get a result of “not significant” or “inconclusive” – you learn very little.

    Don’t test tweaks (e.g. changing the font from 10 pt to 11 pt), test big changes (change the font from 10pt to 24 pt). Then through analytics we can discover why things happened which will result in positive long-term changes. I have been surprised on several occasions where a test I was involved in that was boradly expected to be negative actually turned out positive, and vice-versa. But if you only test small changes, most of your results will live in the land of “inconclusive” and ultimately will not move you forward.

    • Bradley Woody Bendle says:

      Amen Scott! And often times, big changes feel “too difficult” or “too expensive” to pull off and consequently end up on the “crazy idea” chopping room floor.

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