Innovation is betting: you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Innovation fails

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.

#c4cc2012 event

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!

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Communicating context and meaning

Recently, Mark Jennings posed an important question:

“Do words mean the same to say as to hear?”

Much of this subject is, I believe, quite well understood by people involved in communication theory and, particularly, in organizational communication.

There are experts on this subject: the person from whom I have learnt most of the following is Alan Nelson, when he explained the essentials of organizational communication, during an interview. Continue reading

Less is more manufacturing productivity

Recollections of an memorable project

Thinking about the concept of “less is more”, takes me back to a small and initially unpromising project that a maverick boss of mine persuaded me to get involved in many years ago. It provides an interesting example of counter-intuitive optimisation.

The scene…

There was a manufacturing plant which produced credit cards. The plastic cards were manufactured in sheets; this involved a lamination process which started with a “layup” of three plastic sheets and ended up with them laminated together as one sheet. The lamination was done in a press which was heated and then cooled; this caused the plastic sheets to melt slightly and to become welded together as one.  To produce cards with flat and clean surfaces, each layup also had shiny metal plates on either side to produce a smooth finish.

The instinct … Continue reading

“Innovation” is manageable!

This is news to many people and organisations. Many take the view that “innovation” happens somehow, and that it is fairly random, risky and unmanageable. But others are showing that this is not so.

The article, The manageability of innovation, describes that this is not unlike the situation in other areas in the past.

As the article concludes: there is a lot to learn and to do!

However, the main point is that the news is out …

“Innovation” IS manageable!

What are you going to do about it?!

Social relationship management

So Twitter and LinkedIn are interconnecting. What is the background to this and where is it leading?

Twitter

Twitter seems to have caught many people’s mindshare because it is fundamentally different from most other services; its asymmetric “follower” relationship is more complex and flexible than simple connections on LinkedIn or friends on Facebook. Other services are now following(!). Continue reading

Learning and social networks

My interest in learning, and in the ways in which we can enable it, makes conversations like this really interesting.

This is my (very rapidly composed) take on it. I write it here because my intended comment in that conversation grew in size so fast that, before I could get it out, it seemed to have become too large for a comment; that, also says something about the medium/channel communication!

So here goes … Continue reading