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Innovating Innovation

With the Innovating Innovation challenge we’re looking for your stories and hacks on how to make innovation a real capability in organizations.  With the Quick MIX, we gave you an easy way to engage and inspire others on a related question: what is the one thing you’d change to make organizations more innovation-friendly?

Like the M-Prize, this process was open to everyone.  The best contributions are being recognized on our blog, on HBR.org, and in the social media channels of the MIX, Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company.

What is the one thing you'd change to make organizations more innovation-friendly?

Submitted Ideas

Minimize the cost of experimentation

Idea by Gary Hamel on November 19, 2012
A company can't explore a lot of new options if it costs millions of dollars (or even thousands) to test each one. To make innovation a capability, an organization must master the art of rapid prototyping. It must maximize the ratio of learning over investment to find the sweet spot of demand for a new product, or perfect a nascent business more rapidly an inexpensively than competitors.

Multiply the sources of funding for new initiatives

Idea by Michele Zanini on November 18, 2012
In most organizations, the only way to get funding for cool new ideas is up the chain of command (good luck if your boss doesn't like your plan). What would Silicon Valley look like if it operated with one giant VC? (hint: think Soviet Union) Here's a different approach: give all employees the permission to invest 5% of their budget in any project they see promising. This would allow "intrapreneurs" to be matched with many potential angel investors.

Make Collaboration, the cornerstone of Competitive Advantage Culture!

Idea by Charles Prabakar on November 27, 2012
While Strategy is all about creating value, most companies end up competing for the same set of value slices, as opposed to, increasing the size of the value pie. Simply put, when the size of the value pie is enlarged, it is no longer a zero sum game, and so, companies are still motivated to play together, in a collaborative fashion. How? Make collaboration, the cornerstone of company's culture, by combining virtual & physical resources, as outlined in my “Innovating Innovation hack”.

Budget time and money for experimentation and have an experiments goal

Idea by Mario Morales, CEO Innovare on November 20, 2012
A truly innovation-friendly company is one that allows people to try new things. Unfortunately, starting experiments in an organisation is very difficult. Some companies are changing this by having a specific budget of time and money for starting experiments and a company wide experiments goal. In this way, anyone that has an idea can ask for a "permission to experiment" his idea, which will get the person an amount of money and time to do it, creating a culture to do it company wide.

Zero Day Prototyping™

Idea by Andrew Chapman on November 23, 2012
Whatever the idea, prototype it. From a walkthrough of a new business process, to a new structure trial period, or a wireframed app – across any business function – prototype, test, fail, improve. Forget one-pagers, forget idea descriptions, exchange “so what?” with “here’s how”. Innovation leaders know the right processes, reskilling them to become prototyping practitioners enabling Zero Day Prototyping™ will allow the businesses of tomorrow to exploit valuable opportunities faster than ever.

MC Hammer's innovation leadership principle: "U Can't touch This"

Idea by Moises Norena on November 21, 2012
Innovation projects and initiatives require a serious protection mechanism. It can manifest in different forms within the organization. It goes both ways, the protection mechanism should be effective in keeping it from being eliminated or take funding away in turbulent times but the project leaders have to find ways to effectively communicate the advancements. Prototyping is helpful to reduce uncertainty and make protectors feel good about their protege.

don't wait for conditions - take action

Idea by Alan Arnett on November 21, 2012
The biggest barrier to innovation is that we wait. Leaders wait for staff to innovate - staff wait for permission/space/toys. The issue is not other people - we are the organization. Its not more ideas we need - its acting on the ideas we have with the resources at hand. Even if your idea is big, start small with what people can handle today - value progress over agreement, experiment over planning, and connection over winning. Get going, and bring people with you.

Make it a process that can be excecuted in any device including smartphones

Idea by Armando Flores on November 20, 2012
Implement our process execution engine that does not need a big expensive BPM, but instead runs on a database, even in smartphone. It is cheap (20K), can run infinite threads of process and you can produce process in hours and include many. Makes it easy to prototype your innovation until you get it right. To program a process you go to a cloud based process programer, call the file, make changes and 'save as' the new process name. The next process will execute with the changes made.

Cultural Transformation

Idea by Francis Jeyaraj on November 28, 2012
Structural considerations also affect the way in which Performance Management (PM) is been implemented. This is why there is no single way to develop and introduce Performance Management. Structure – the degree of centralization and the extent to which the Bank is hierarchical based. We need to infer the drivers for Performance Management. The procedural and design points can then be dealt with. The final arrangements for pilot schemes (2 Pilots) and implementation have to be made.

Fire everyone and then fund them as a competitor

Idea by Rob Schade on November 20, 2012
Change Employees Context - Tell a product team that they have just been let go from the company however as severance they get to keep the IP from their group. Now the team is told to actively look for ways to compete against their "old" company, identifying their weaknesses and trying to exploit them through product, business model and service innovation. Just by changing their context and having them try to defeat their current employer, great strides in thinking and innovation can occur.