Today is the last day of the Ryder Cup 2014, and the score is 10-6 (see update below for the final score). We have been here before. In the past, this score has been overturned on the last day twice (in fact, every time, see footnote).
Each sport has its super-events which evoke significantly more emotional energy than other events, often inspired by national rivalries. Cricket has The Ashes, golf has the Ryder Cup (see footnote) for men and the Solheim Cup for women, and there are many super-events in other sports. However, the Ryder Cup, unlike the vast majority of professional golf tournaments, is a team event. This raises the question of how their performance depends on collaborative behaviour within the team.
Game or business
During the BBC commentary on this event, Nicolas Colsaerts was asked about the two sides and the differences between the approach to the game on the two continents. Continue reading
Selling innovative products
If you are selling something, then you want people to buy it, but how? The challenge is greater if your product is more innovative. But maybe other innovations can come to the rescue.
Resistance from existing distributors
For Tesla, the electric car manufacturer which is shaking up the motor industry, Texas is different. Tesla believe that existing car dealers have little incentive to sell electric cars, so they decided to sell them direct through their own sites, rather like a kind of Apple Store chain for cars.
But in Texas the car dealers don’t like that and they have laws to stop it.
It’s an institution or, at least, it was an established ritual: the great British tea break.
When I first started work, and for many years afterwards, there was a break every morning and every afternoon. Everyone in the department would stop work for 15-20 minutes each morning and afternoon, to get together to have a cup of tea; it was important.
Well, maybe it was a mug of coffee, that was not important. The important part was to provide a social routine for the group in which we were working, Continue reading
Where are you looking?
When innovations appear, it can be hard to see their potential benefits … especially if you are looking in the wrong place!
That seems to be the case in this superbly simple story, told to me by Aren Grimshaw when we met up last week.
Innovation is not guaranteed to work, if it were then it would not be novel enough to be termed “innovation”. So there is a risk involved. However, presumably, we would like our innovative efforts to work (that is, to pay out) some of the time, otherwise they would not be worth the price.
During a flow of Twitter messages about an event today (2012.01.24) at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London, there was an exchange of messages in which Benjamin Ellis (@BenjaminEllis) suggested that paying the price of innovation is the opposite of paying an insurance premium. The message is here. Benjamin called it an innovation premium.
It is a gamble
Well, the opposite of an insurance premium is a bet. The model is the same: you pay a small price, in the expectation of getting a bigger payout if an event occurs. The difference is that: in the case of an insurance premium, you (probably) hope that the event does not happen; whereas, in the case of a bet, you hope that it does.
So it seems that innovation is equivalent to gambling. Of course, one can consider and analyse the various risks involved, and can work to minimise the downside. But in the end, in innovation, as in gambling:
You’ve got to be in it to win it!
Innovation happens as new perspectives, thoughts and ideas lead to changes in behaviour. Doing the same things and expecting a different outcome is unrealistic. Only when we do new things, do we make a substantial difference.
Mankind has evolved through the application of small thoughts which continually make a difference to someone and big ideas which occasionally rock everyone’s world. There is always an opportunity to innovate in specific ways, but now something else is happening at a generic level.
Innovation is an opportunity now: not because we have access to many new technologies; not because we face major challenges; and not because the pace of change is increasing. These have been true during many periods of history.
Innovation is an opportunity now because the world is beginning to understand that innovation can be managed. This has been understood by some people for some time; yet, for most people, the concept of managing innovation remains out of reach.
We have the opportunity to do new things more effectively through the application of our understanding of innovation. The opportunity is to be more innovative, and we are still learning what that means.
[This post was originally written in connection with my contribution to the Like Minds 2011 conference in Exeter, UK between October 19-21, and was published in the conference magazine for the Apple iPad, see the AppStore under “Like Minds” .]
Sooner or later continuous improvement, by any individual or organisation, runs out of steam.
Marching up the slope ahead of us makes sense as an effective way to move onwards and upwards, until we reach the summit. But the summit of what? Most likely it is not the summit, it is just a summit.
There are other summits, and many of them are higher than this summit. Now what?
Discontinuous improvement is called for, to transition across the valley or chasm to the slope of our next, higher challenge. With sufficient resources and expertise, we might be able to build a bridge or to swing or, even, fly across. Without them, we must commit to descending into the valley.
Or, of course, we could just stay where we are at the top of our little summit.
The questions about innovation are not about why we innovate or whether to innovate. They are about what, when, where and how we innovate.