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Growth Through Innovation Series: Introduction
This article is the first in a series about decoding the black boxes of innovation and incubation. Each article in the series is intended to be a self-contained unit, so please bookmark the first article in this series, so that you can find any piece you wish to see at any time.
Part 1: Series Introduction and Linkbase
So many organizations struggle with growth as a result of some level of failure to understand what it means to innovate. Some companies can easily recognize when they fall short in the innovation department, and have an interest in learning how to start, change, or improve their innovation efforts. This article series is specifically intended to help those organizations and the people in those organizations kickstart that process by understanding and replicating some of the things that have given GSE its reputation as an industry-best for innovative solutions. We'll also be leveraging my background as a startup expert, product manager, and all-purpose nerd.
Each of the following headlines will become links to the articles when they are published, so I highly recommend bookmarking this article.
Part 2: Types and Sources of Innovation
- Internal vs. External
- Product vs. Business vs. Organizational
- Micro vs Macro
The concept of innovation implies that it is all the same, when in fact it isn't. There are so many ways to innovate, and for that reason, so many different recognizable "types" of innovation.
Part 3: Fostering Innovation through Talent Incubation
If you incubate your talent properly, they will incubate your business properly. It's not a secret that the majority of the most innovative companies are the ones with the best talent. What many people fail to recognize, however, is the opportunity to train internal resources to be more innovative. There are many different processes that generate ideas as a byproduct of regular business, and various ways to teach fundamental skills of ideation, innovation, and incubation.
Part 4: Fostering Innovation through Talent Acquisition
People often hire the same type of person, or they hire competitors' talent, then wonder why innovation in the industry stagnates until a startup enters with new technology. It is certainly important to hire with the goal of finding people who can do the job, but it is also important to be cognizant of the effects of poaching on idea growth. Understanding how to identify sources of high quality talent while attracting them to your organization goes a long way.
Part 5: Building a Culture of Innovation
Don't tell me you're an innovative company; show me that you're an innovative company. Show me that your entire company culture, or at least a significant part of it, is progressive and experimental. Show me that you're looking for ways to innovate more than just your product lines. Show me that you understand the value of events, activities, and processes that encourage growth innovation in every aspect of business. Show me your internal culture of innovation.
Part 6: Gamification of Innovation
Gamification was on every buzzword bingo card in the early 2010s, though the concept itself had been around for decades, and there is a lot of merit to understanding what it means, and how to use it effectively. As far as innovation and creative thinking go, gamification can be an incredibly effective tool to help bring about the kinds of behaviors that cultivate organizational environments conducive to growth.
Part 7: Internal Incubators
Many "top 5s" in every major industry have opted into building and operating an "in-house incubator;" a special division within the company dedicated to operating as a tiny think tank and ideation machine. Are these groups effective? What is the best way to leverage the benefits of an internal incubator while minimizing the adverse effects? Would it make more sense to outsource ideation and incubation on contract?
Join the Conversation
This article series will be published monthly until the end of 2021, with two articles going up in September. I encourage everyone to reach out to me using "Inno Growth" in the subject line with any questions, and to subscribe to the rest of this series. I will be answering mailbag questions publicly and anonymously throughout the series, so I sincerely look forward to hearing from you.