I am currently reading a book called “Innovation – the Attacker’s Advantage” by Richard Foster, although written and purchased a while ago (1980’s), it is still very interesting reading now that we can travel back to the future, and still pertinent.
Another very good article on Innovation is from Stanford Graduate School of Business on why failure is considered a good thing: Why Failure Drives Innovation.
My personal observations are that people of Mind set-1 (see Why Failure Drives Innovation) rely on systems and procedures to improve what they have in an attempt to continue the success they once had. Yes the tools such as 5S and six sigma and TQM and Lean and …..etc, all add value to the process of improving quality and reducing costs.
But it is the innovators, those that Baba Shiv calls Mind set-2, who are the ones that bring real success. Improving what you have to the Nth degree is all fine and good and does save plenty of pennies. But this is neither sustainable nor effective in the long run – refer to Richard Foster’s S-Curve pertaining to Performance vs Effort (funds).
Take land transport: although humans have used the horse and donkey for a long time it was not until the invention of the wheel around 4,000-3,500 years ago when things really got moving, especially with the advent of the cart and chariot around 3,500 years ago. But things remained slow for a couple of millennium, yes they improved the carts and wagons but they were still limited by the technology of the time. Then came steam during the 18th century and mass transportation began, people and goods being moved all over the country – but restricted to the rail corridor. The next leap forward was the invention of the internal combustion engine by an innovator called Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir – although the automobile was not patented until 1890’s. And now, we have car companies improving the effectiveness, efficiency and aesthetics of the automobile but they are still pretty much the same. The next leap forward is the introduction of the electric car and levitating train.
As you can see, the periods between innovation are getting shorter. But innovation is at all levels, in all industries and in all countries, it is the Innovators who are making the jump, building the bridges to the future, the rest follow, some with eagerness while some dragged and screaming and the rest blindly.
Me, well I can’t wait for the strap-on, Personal Anti-gravity Commuter vehicle. Now that’s a back-pac!