In the September 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review, Clay Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and global authority on innovation, writes: “For as long as we can remember, innovation has been a top priority—and a top frustration—for leaders.” Christensen goes on to report data from a recent McKinsey poll that found 84 percent of global executives think innovation is extremely important to their growth strategies, but a staggering 94 percent are dissatisfied with their organizations’ innovation. Ask any group of people to define creativity and innovation and their lists will likely be nearly identical. In reality, those terms are as different as terms like activity vs. results. Let’s differentiate creativity and innovation by using a plain-spoken definition: Creativity is about coming up with the big idea; innovation is about executing on the idea—converting the idea into a successful business proposition of value.
Which do you think is easier? Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that anyone can come up with an idea, but few people can either put together a team, an environment, or a process that converts that idea to something useful. For instance, in the case of public service organizations and nonprofits, it’s about creating value of a different sort—a better city, classroom, or congregation.
In Solving the Innovation Mystery: A Workplace Whodunit, I examine the slower moving truth of how innovation actually happens—and just why we must resist the hero tale and the mirage that is the eureka moment.
Read a sample chapter from Solving the Innovation Mystery here.