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Managing innovation - creating value from ideas
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Managing innovation - creating value from ideas

Author: john

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Innovation doesn't just happen. It's not like the cartoons - a lightbulb flashes on above someone's head and that's it. No - it's a journey and we need to understand how best to prepare for that journey, whatever kind of value we are trying to create. This podcast is about some useful lessons we might take on board to help develop our capabilities.For more, see my website:
31 Episodes
Use our ideas.....

Use our ideas.....


Users are often a very powerful source of innovation - providing we listen to them!Lyrics below: If you need some inspiration When you’re wanting innovation Ask the crowd, they’ll shout out loud “U – U – Use our ideas!”   When it comes to diffusion There’s a really neat solution Bring the users along, you can’t go wrong Just U-U-Use their ideas!   In a world of co-creation, customer emancipation There is this new big thing , Customizing Let’s innovate…!   Democratizing innovation Is the latest big sensation Let the users lead, they know their needs Just U U Use their ideas    No R&D or marketing Let your users do their own thing     Build a community and they’ll soon be Your eyes and ears!  Henry Ford, gave us no choice But now we’ve found our own voice On a Facebook site we can get it right We know what’s best – so just invest Listen to us – don’t make a fuss And U U Use our ideas….! 
Peanuts might sound an unlikely source of insight into how we can learn to manage innovation.  But - as this podcast shows - there's a lot to this particular legume.  Something which didn't escape the attention of George Washington Carver, the man who did so much to promote it as an alternative crop to poor cotton farmers and helped engender an agricultural revolution in the USA.  Carver's legacy goes well beyond peanuts - he was a pioneer in helping understand how to enable diffusion of innovation, and a passionate advocate of sustainable farming practices.



Something a little different in this podcast - the beginnings of my quest to put innovation ideas to music!There's plenty of discussion about early adopters and other  segments of the population in terms of their approach to adopting new ideas.  But this song looks at the other end of the spectrum - the 'laggards' for whom any kind of change is not necessarily welcome....You can find the lyrics here:
Diversity matters

Diversity matters


Diversity matters in innovation.  Particularly because it allows us to access a wide range of different viewpoints which can contribute to the innovation task both in terms of improving the front-end design and also by accelerating diffusion downstream because ideas developed with user input have a better chance of being compatible But if we're going to involve users we're going to involve diversity we need to find methods to make sure we can deal with our aspiration towards inclusivity we need the tools and the methods to bring people in. This podcast explores the theme of diversity and inclusivity in innovation.  You can find a film version hereand a transcript here.
London Bridge isn’t falling down.  In fact it’s in excellent health considering it straddled the river Thames for two hundred years before being dismantled, shipped halfway around the world and re-erected, stone by stone, in the middle of a lake in Arizona.  If you were to take one of the pleasure craft which now ply their way across Lake Havasu you might find yourself looking a little more closely at those stones as you pass under one of the five wide arches of the bridge.  It might be worth doing so because they have a fascinating innovation story to tell….You can find a transcript of this podcast hereAnd a video film of it here
This episode looks at the opportunities for innovation in both incremental (do what we do but better) and radical (do something completely different) fashion.It forms part of a series of resources to help learn about the ways in which we might master the skills and build capabilities in innovation and entrepreneurship.For more details please follow this link:
We’re only just beginning to get a measure of how much innovation begins with user ideas. Studies by NESTA in the UK, for example suggest that close to 10% of product innovations and 15% of process innovation begin in this fashion – and that’s almost certainly an underestimate.  Users are a hidden ‘front end’ of innovation, highly motivated, prepared to experiment and tolerant of things not working right first time.  So whatever we do – whether we’re a commercial company trying to launch new products,  a public sector authority trying to improve services, a social innovator trying to work with disadvantaged  people – it makes sense to try and bring this perspective to bear. This podcast explores some of the challenges and opportunities in user innovation.  It is based on a keynote talk given to the annual conference of the European network of Living Labs earlier this month.You can find a transcript/blog version here and even a song about the topic here!
How we think about something shapes what we do about it.  What we pay attention to, what we give resources to, what we manage.  So it makes sense to check out whether the models we're using to work with innovation are as up-to-date and robust as they need to be.This podcast explores that theme.It forms part of a course , 'The Craft of Innovation' and you can find more details and a transcript of the podcast here at my website
Innovation is, by its nature, uncertain - we don''t know in advance whether or not it will work, if the market will be there, if some other elements in the environment will shift.  But we can build capabilities to help stack the deck in our favour, to enhance our chances of success.  And the good news is that we have over 100 years of research into experiences of what makes for success (or failure) on which to draw.This podcast is part of a short course on innovation management - if you'd like to learn more please see my website here 
Innovation involves a journey but it's not a case of 'one size fits all'.  Different contexts require different variations on the core framework we use to plan and make our journeys - as this podcast highlightsThis forms part of a course on 'The craft of innovation' - you can find a transcript and much more on my website here
No-one knows exactly but it’s a pretty fair guess that at any moment several hundred million people are communicating with each other, working, sharing, living big chunks of their lives via internet conferencing platforms.  Doctors diagnose, businesses operate, music and theatre happen, parliaments sit – all in virtual space.  But where and how did this technology emerge?This podcast looks at the birth of the internet and explores some of the udnerying innovation lessonsFor a transcript and more innovation resources see my website here
Twenty five years ago work in a research institute in Germany made it possible to compress audio files into a size manageable enough to broadcast and share - ushering in a wave of innovation which shook the music industry to its foundations and laid the foundations for today's world of streaming.  This podcast ( the first of two) looks in more detail at the birth of the mp3....Transcript/blog version here And a YouTube film version here
Scaling innovation

Scaling innovation


We spend a lot of time worrying about the ‘front end’ of innovation - how to create new business models around products and services.  But what happens when the project succeeds, and the new product or service is launched?  If a new idea is to have impact (commercially or socially) then it needs to move to scale.  People have to adopt it in large numbers,  the ideas need to spread, the concepts diffuse.  And it’s here, on the journey to scale, that we find a number of roadblocks, potholes and other obstacles to long-term innovation success.  This podcast explores some of the challenges on the journey to scale and some of the signposts which might help navigate the journey.(You can find a blog version of this podcast here with transcript, and a film version here.  And see my website for more useful resources around innovation management).
The birth of the bike

The birth of the bike


Bicycles are big business.  It’s hard to get an exact figure but estimates suggest there are around 2 billion bikes in the world today – and after Covid-19 there might be a few more.  People in lockdown have been turning to bikes as a form of exercise and as an alternative to public transport and they’re doing so in such numbers that waiting lists for new bikes run to three months or more.  But bicycles weren’t always around and perhaps it’s worth reflecting a little more on their history, not least because it can teach us some useful lessons about innovation.  In particular how (or not) to manage it for impact and scale.(You can find a transcript of the podcast on my website at
When you’re in the middle of the swamp and the alligators are snapping at your legs you can be forgiven for not giving too much precious headspace to thinking about plans for draining the swamp.  But assuming you get out of that scrape in one piece it might be worth it. The same is true for our current experience of a crisis-shaken world thanks to Covid-19.  Even though there are very pressing concerns it might be useful to pause for a moment and try to draw out some insights and lessons which we might be able to leverage in the future, helping to create organizations which are a little less fragile. (You can find a transcript and blog version of this podcast here)
People often use this phrase when talking about an innovation and the impact they hope it will have.  But what’s the story behind sliced bread – and does it have any useful lessons for innovation managers today?(For a transcript and blog version click here)
Innovation often makes us think about dramatic shiny new products emergng from high tech sectors.  But we shouldn't forget that even the most mundane context can provide the trigger for change - and that change can have sigificant impact in our lives.  As this tale of the humble vacuum cleaner explains....(for a transcript of the blog and more information see my website here).
If we’re serious about wanting a culture of innovation its probably useful to start by exploring what that might involve….  This episode ( the second of two parts) looks at how we might begin to develop the core values and behaviours we'd want to see in our innovation culture.
If we’re serious about wanting a culture of innovation its probably useful to start by exploring what that might involve….  This episode ( the first of two parts) looks at what mike make up an innovation culture - the core values and behaviours we'd want to see.  And in the next episode we'll look at how we might begin to develop these......
Whether you call them innovation hubs, maker-spaces, fab-labs, accelerators or hotspots you can hardly turn a street corner or a magazine page before you bump into another example.  The names may vary but the underlying idea is the same – a place where people can meet to get inspired and supported by each other, to articulate and co-create.All of these ventures are built on the belief that innovation (particularly of the radical, game-changing variety) needs somewhere to incubate and flourish, ideally well away from the busy day-to-day mainstream.  Spaces where ideas can grow, be prototyped, experimented with and ultimately taken to scale.But there’s a risk that many of these labs are being set up simply because it is the fashionable thing to do. Expectations run high but the very ease with which they can be established means that it is also simple to close them down again.This podcast looks at some of the challenges in creating effective innovation spaces - places which are much more than a chillout space with some beanbags on the floor and whiteboards on the walls.
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