Managing Innovation Complexity

by Braden Kelley

In 2011, I will be a regular contributor to the American Express OPEN Forum on the topic of innovation.

Here is the second one of the year:

Managing Innovation ComplexityIdeas are easy; innovation is hard. Ideas are exciting, but innovation is scary because it is all about change. The changes required by minor innovations are easier for customers and organizations to absorb. But the large changes generated by major innovations often disrupt not only the market, but the internal workings of the organization as well. This requires organizations to become increasingly flexible and adaptable. And companies that successfully innovate in a repeatable fashion have one thing in common: they are good at managing and adapting to change and complexity.

People often fail to imagine just how the change injected into organizations by innovation ebbs and flows across the whole organization’s ecosystem. Innovation creates a complex web of change not just for customers, but also for employees, suppliers, marketing, operations, and many other groups. Let’s explore some of the change categories visualized in this framework using an Apple iPod example from my book, Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire:

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden is also the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy.