Author Archives: Jeffrey Phillips

Innovation Zombies

Zombies, or the concept of the undead, seems really potent right now. We’ve had a number of movies featuring zombies lately, and a new well-received TV show on AMC highlights the zombie phenomenon – The Walking Dead. I’m not sure why there’s a sudden resurgence of interest in zombies, but I am sure that zombies are damaging your innovation capabilities. ...

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What Rockmelt Shows Us About Innovation

Here’s an interesting question. Why is there so much innovation around internet browsing? Why is it that we have Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chromium, Safari, and now RockMelt, and sure to be others right around the corner? Why so much innovation in viewing web content? What does innovation in the browser space tell us about innovation in general? After all, it’s ...

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Why Innovation Matters Now

As the economic downturn settles in for its second year and promises to hang around like a slacker twenty-something on the couch, there is a growing divide between the innovation haves and have nots. Firms that were relatively innovative before the economic slowdown have for the most part sustained a high level of innovation investment. That’s not uniformly true, however. ...

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Failure Must Always be an Option

I chose the title of this point tongue in cheek, because I have a great friend in the military and his signature is FINAO – Failure is not an option. In the military, when every decision is life and death, that mantra is correct. In innovation, however, failure must always be an option. I’ve been scanning Twitter posts and other ...

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The Five Uncertainties of Innovation

Let’s face it. Innovation isn’t hard, it isn’t complicated, it isn’t unattractive work. Innovation is really difficult because it is new and fraught with uncertainties. Since we’ve been trained to abhor vacuums and uncertainties, many firms shy away from innovation, and use excuses like “It’s too hard” or “The pay-off is hard to predict” or a number of other arguments, ...

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To Innovate is to Choose

Analogies are a powerful tool in an innovator’s arsenal. We use analogies to understand how other firms or other industries have solved a particular problem, and then evaluate that existing approach or solution in light of our challenges. Here’s an example. We were working with a firm that makes lawn mowers, and the goal was to improve the result of ...

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3 Key Components of an Innovation Culture

Good artists borrow and great artists steal. Today I am a great artist, and stealing from another. At a recent speaking engagement which I attended virtually through a Twitter stream, Rob Shelton described an innovation culture as being made of vision and metrics and motivation. I thought this was an excellent summation of the attributes of an innovation culture, and ...

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Government's Role in Innovation

I saw an article recently, highlighted by Richard Florida, that suggested that the incoming Republican-led House of Representatives will reduce spending on scientific research. The natural conclusion from that assertion was that therefore, there would be less funding for “innovation”. It’s interesting to consider how funding for basic R&D within government labs impacts innovation, and what role we want the ...

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