This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

February 24, 2010

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

For years now, we have seen a growing trend towards "Innovation" being a leading focus for corporations worldwide. A new book from Robert C. Wolcott and Michael Lippitz, "Grow from Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation" (McGraw-Hill 2010), provides a roadmap for effectively creating innovation in organizations.

Wolcott is the founder and executive director of the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN), "a unique forum for select executives and innovation managers to meet and discuss internal and industry-wide challenges, business growth, risks, and successful strategies, with academics from the Kellogg School of Management".

Discussed in the book, "Innovation Radar" (IR) grew out of an understanding that "innovation is about more than just products and technology". Companies can innovate in any area. Using IR, executives look at 12 dimensions of innovation; the chart represents all of the activities with which companies can add value.

The valuable part of IR is that it provides a bridge between strategy and innovation and gives executives the opportunity to have all of their questions and answers (hopefully) before they begin the strategic process.

Wolcott suggests that entrepreneurs. . ."Be clear about their objectives. Be clear about their questions. Recognize that "we [often] only see the things for which we are looking".

The authors also talk about some corporate initiatives that promote innovation, like IBM's "Global Innovation Outlook" programs and "Innovation Jams". In these unique in-person and online events, IBM engages people from a wide variety of enterprises to solve global challenges facing humanity.

In "Saving America: The Generativity Solution" by Robert R. Carkhuff (HRD Press 2010). Moving past any obvious political overtones, Carkhuff believes that the lack of economic freedom hamstrings entrepreneurship. Defining Generativity as "the capacity to generate a new idea", the author also provides an organized approach to innovation. “The Generativity Solution” is the application of "generativity" to all areas and levels of human endeavor: individuals, organizations, and all components of the community, culture, and economy. And that is only the beginning.

Expect innovation to become increasingly important, as the nations of the world look for answers. Wolcott is right: "Corporate entrepreneurship in all of its forms is the strategic answer to the challenge of economic growth."

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