Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Not just for R&D anymore

There used to be an advertisement for a breakfast food - the actual brand escapes me now - and the tag line went "Not just for breakfast anymore." In this way the manufacturer was trying to get new users and new customers, and encourage existing customers to use the product outside of just breakfast hours.

We should be doing the same thing with innovation. Innovation for a long time has been the responsibility of just a few people, probably R&D and product management. But is it realistic to think that only a few people in any organization possess all of the insights and good ideas? What about outside of the firm? Don't your customers, vendors and business partners - even competitors - have great ideas?

I wrote in a recent post that management should dictate the means for innovation, not the results, and what I meant was that management should not try to tell people what innovations are valuable or how to "do" innovation, but management should provide the tools and the culture to encourage innovation. And this encouragement should be open to those in traditional "innovative" roles like R&D, and also in every other part of the business. Good ideas are where you find them and where you encourage them. No one group has a lock on insight.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 8:05 AM

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If growth is important to a firm, and if growth is dependent on offering existing products and services to new customers

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