The 25 Best Anti-Innovation Quotes Ever

Many of history’s most respected intellectuals — not just the senior leadership at your company — have said some of the silliest things about new ideas that had not yet realized their potential. Dan Wheeler offers 25 of his favorite anti-innovation quotes to pull out the next time you’re trying to coach a team to shut out conventional wisdom and ignore the naysayers.

Why Agile Retail Needs to be on Your Radar

As 2019 unfolds, physical retail is undergoing a major transformation — one characterized by freshness, nimbleness, and curation. Conversely, losing relevance is the inflexible model of old — one marked by multi-year leases, high fixed costs, and risk. Lindsay Angelo, a former strategy manager at apparel brand lululemon, explains.

Book Excerpt: How Management Systems Can Support (Or Suffocate) Innovation

How do companies become innovative for the long haul, rather than making it the “flavor-of-the-quarter”? That’s the central question that Nancy Tennant, an adjunct professor at Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, addresses in her new book, “Transform Your Company for the Innovation Universe,” published this month. Tennant was also the Chief Innovation Officer at Whirlpool Corp., where she worked for three decades. We’ve got an exclusive excerpt.

Big Corporates Can’t Innovate — And Other Myths

“Most big corporates have traditionally had a designated R&D department, with a small team of people in charge of driving the company’s global innovation agenda,” writes Genevieve Juillard of Experian, the $4.6 billion credit reporting agency. “But can one team truly push a company forward?” Juillard writes that large companies “must change the way they approach innovation.” Here’s how…

Exclusive Book Excerpt: Advice on Innovation Governance, Budgeting and Metrics

In the new book “Today’s Innovator,” former Transamerica innovation exec Aaron Proietti talks about innovation not as an outcome or destination, but as a competency that can help an organization escape the pull of the status quo. “By treating innovation as a competency, rather than an outcome,” he writes, “innovation can be designed into the very fabric, or essence, of the organization to ensure it is contributing exactly what is required of it.” Check out the exclusive excerpt…

Innovation and Blurring Sectors: Where Will You Blur the Lines in 2019?

Contributing columnist Lindsay Angelo predicts that in 2019, the blurring of sectors will gain steam. She says we’ll see more sectors colliding and combining to create something bigger and more impactful than each could do on its own. Think co-working spaces meet retail, art meets yoga, burgers meet shoes. Where will you blur the lines in 2019?

Digital Transformation as a Team Sport: Advice from Former Pirelli and Mondelez Exec Marcelo De Santis

According to former Chief Innovation Officer Marcelo De Santis, digital transformation is a “team sport” that requires buy-in across a large company. In a recent interview, he discussed his experiences with digital transformation, the importance of organizational relationships, and creating a space for experimentation at large companies.

Leveraging the Power of Crowds to Enhance Design Thinking

Crowdsourcing should take place before a design session, contends Pfizer exec Daniel Seewald. In fact, it can be the difference between a mediocre session and a high impact one. Seewald explains the three ways that crowdsourcing can be helpful…

Startup Studios: Snake Oil or Elixir for the Corporate Innovator?

Startup studios are gaining traction as a tool to help corporate business leaders fill in the blanks of a certain project. But will this strategy help innovators overcome enterprise challenges? Former Nike and Intel exec Rick Waldron makes the case…

New Resource: What Do Colleagues Hear When You Say ‘Innovation’?

When people around the company say they want “innovation,” they likely don’t all mean the same thing. Aaron Proietti, a former SVP at Transamerica, offers a translation guide to the divergent definitions of innovation in various departments — and the benefits of getting everyone speaking the same language.

FAQ: Your Corporate Innovation Questions, Answered

Innovation Leader regularly fields questions about corporate innovation and poses them to our community of strategy, technology, and R&D leaders. Here’s a collection of questions we’ve answered recently.

Want to Win at Business Model Innovation? Put These Four Pillars in Place

“The typical three-year corporate innovation cycle thus has become all too common,” writes former Nike and Intel innovation executive Rick Waldron. “A giddy first year, filled with excitement and enthusiasm…a challenging second year…and a disappointing (and final) third year in which the pipeline has not generated profitable, new billion-dollar businesses.” Waldron shares his advice on escaping that fate.

Resource: The Barriers to Innovation in Large Companies, and How to Overcome Them

In this latest downloadable resource, we share the eleven most common barriers to innovation. We present a list of the symptoms that accompany each barrier; questions that can be posed to help your colleagues and senior management better understand the barrier; as well as some solutions which may help you prevail.

Designing an Innovation Culture that Scales Globally

Imran Sayeed, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, discusses the 3D Model of Innovation that he finds is most effective for innovation programs. Sayeed explains how this model is different from the way many companies approach innovation, how to measure innovation, and how to scale innovation efforts globally.

19 Clear Signs Your Company is Under-Investing in Innovation

Do executives at your company like to say the word “innovation” a lot — but hate to actually commit budget to it?

We asked a group of anonymous Innovation Leader members to help us assemble a list of of some of the indicators that your company is under-investing in innovation.

New Resource: RASCI Matrix for Building Support for Innovation Projects

A RASCI matrix is a tool that can be used to build consistent support for innovation, while mitigating against common failure modes like role ambiguity, when people aren’t sure what exactly they’re supposed to do or want to weigh in more than you’d like. Here’s our downloadable Excel version…

Why “Gretzky’s Rule” Represents the Past – Not the Future – of Product Innovation

Most people operate in a market where outcomes are not so predictable; where the environment shifts on you regularly; or where you face newly-formed competitors that disrupt your entire business. Ericsson executive Ken Durand offers his advice…

Advice from American Greetings VP: How creatives and the business side can get along

Many people think of American Greetings as a purveyor of greeting cards and party goods, but as Carol Miller describes it, the privately-held company is in the “meaningful connections” business, helping people make connections with family and friends. On a recent IL Live conference call, she shared her advice about building great teams that include both creatives and business-side employees.

From the Teach-In: Innovation tips from our participants

At our sold out Teach-In gathering last month, we asked participants to pair up and share with each other a piece of advice about doing new things in established companies. The catch: it had to be succinct enough to fit onto a Post-It.

Audio: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on whether innovators need to ignore the rules

Posting some audio recorded recently at the Innovation by Design Summit in St. Louis. Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner sat down for a wide-ranging on-stage interview with Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple and a Silicon Valley legend.

Our take: If you’re going to stage some ‘innovation theater,’ make it ‘Hamilton’ and not ‘Carrie’

This week, Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner provides a contrarian view on “innovation theater,” the label that some in the startup or consulting world put on just about any efforts at corporate innovation. “Ignore the nay-sayers,” says Kirsner, and use the Tony award-winning show Hamilton as your guide. “Innovation theater, done thoughtfully and creatively, can set the stage for more constructive work ahead.”

Google VP Ivy Ross shares advice on meeting overload, getting resources, and confronting the future

Many execs are too complacent when they’re confronting seismic shifts in their industry, says Ross, who is leading Google’s wearable computing project. “Why would you stay at a hotel, versus in an Airbnb room? The answer might be horrifying to you, but better deal with what is horrifying than deal with the alternative, which is that you’re not here in five years.”

The secret of corporate innovation is …

Here are seven things we see having a big impact inside large organizations, and seven things that set you up for failure.

Former Gap exec Michael Perman: Is innovation really everyone’s job?

“Two common axioms are ridiculous. Stay away from them,” writes Michael Perman, who has held innovation roles at Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. “Innovation is everyone’s job. NOT. That’s no more true than distribution being everyone’s job. Yes, everyone needs to have EMPATHY, but in reality, innovation requires talent, passion, and tenacity.” The other ridiculous axiom? Keep reading…

Peer advice: How to start and sustain a network of innovation champions

Participants in a recent Innovation Leader conference call addressed six key questions about creating internal networks of innovation “champions” or “catalysts,” like what is the champion’s role; how will you recruit or find champions; what are the benefits to them, and what sorts of impact should you try to measure?

Failure shouldn’t come as a surprise

The odds are, with every project that pushes the limits of what your company has done before, or the boundaries of what is possible, you will encounter failure. The best organizations in the world expect it. They have a culture that tolerates it. And they are ready to learn from it and adapt. Here’s Julia Austin’s advice on how you do that…

Achieving impact in a large organization: Advice from your peers

We recently brought together a group of twenty senior innovation, product, and strategy executives in Manhattan, in collaboration with our partner Mindjet. The goal: to discuss how to create sustainable innovation programs that deliver big results. Here are twenty pieces of advice from the group…

Ex-VMware CINO on why big corps can’t ‘act like startups’

Just act more like a startup! Break the rules! Easier said than done, writes Julia Austin, the former VP of Innovation at VMWare. Getting good things to happen in large organizations requires an understanding of the key genetic differences between startups and mature companies. And she’s got a chart that details them…

Learnings from an IT innovation program that didn’t last

IT executive Fabio Almeida shares his experiences in trying to get an innovation program off the ground at Infineum USA, a New Jersey-based maker of petroleum additives. “Don’t expect people to embrace innovation just because they are interested in the topic, or it is the new buzzword in the organization,” he writes.

Does your organization undermine innovation?

We spoke to more than 20 innovation executives across a range of industries, along with entrepreneurs who have had their startups acquired by big companies. Our focus: What are the most common ways you see large organizations shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to innovation? Click through the presentation above to see what they said.