There are two distinct parts to any Innovation Funnel

I wrote in an earlier blog called “the new extended innovation funnel” ( my reasoning for thinking differently from our traditional view of how the innovation funnel should look like. I feel it should look more like this.

Extended Innovation Funnel – are we really listening?

The ‘classic’ innovation funnel talked about is wrong for todays job!

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Walking that narrow innovation pathway.

Walking that narrow innovation pathway needs some rethinking.

The narrow innovation pathway

Innovation is the pathway to travel and seek out our future”

Today there is as much a gap between the aspiration to innovate and the ability to deliver on this. We still continue to ignore the constant suggestion that innovation should be systematic so the organization can provide some degree of reliability to innovate in a continuous fashion.

We often allow the concept of ‘holistic’ to simply float over us and ignore the intimate connection between strategic thinking, innovation and their alignment. It is still sad we seem not to go beyond a certain point in our innovation thinking, it continues along a narrow path of limited understanding. Will it ever change?

I appreciate the statement, I think made by John Kao: “Strategy is useless without innovation, innovation is directionless without strategy”. Innovation can be strategies catalyst but is it still? I really do believe we need a new sense of the scale and scope of innovation; we do need to get a firmer grip on its complexities.

I would certainly suggest we do need to align it far more to the organizations strategic imperative and recognize innovation’s role in this for this to be successful and to be repeatable. We must strive and push for more of a complete understanding of the innovation process to manage this thoroughly. Firstly innovation is never linear; it is iterative with lots of trial and error to learn from it. Continue reading

The new extended innovation funnel

The ideas funnel has been with us a long time. We put our ideas into the funnel and then through a process of elimination out ‘pop’s’ finished products. Henry Chesbrough’s famous depiction of the Open Funnel has continued that concept, that ideas enter the more ‘open’ innovation process and go through a more ‘staged gate’ or equivalent process to emerge as the finished product or even spun-out- all well and good.

In the past few weeks the funnel has been constantly coming back in my life. It has been bugging me. Recently I was at a European Innovation Conference and we got into a roundtable discussion on managing ideas and up pop’s the fuzzy front end and the funnel and putting ideas through this. To be provocative I said “well ideas are actually in the middle of the innovation process” and we got into a significant debate on this and concluded that we all did not share a common language on this or understanding of what I was struggling to articulate.

So let me lay out my view. Firstly this was not as inspired as an insight I can  fully lay claim too as mine. I had read somewhere this very point, ideas lie more in the middle of the innovation process but just could not remember where I had read it- grey cells are my excuse.

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