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Creating Googles, Apples and a process of innovation.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on November 15, 2005

Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, put on an amazingly insightful conference on innovation last week. Some 200 people, nearly all from business with a smattering of design people, turned out to hear the “7 gurus” from the Get Creative cover that I did back in August. The audience was jazzed and the speakers were terrific. Next time Martin throws a conference, go. I learned so much. It was all recorded and as soon as I get the disk, I’ll put it up on the Innovation & Design channel.

Larry Keeley, co-founder and president of the Doblin Group in Chicago, gave a great speech. He said “innovation is beginning to give up its secrets.” He said that today, companies can increase their innovation effectiveness by 35% to 70% or 9 to 17 times the norm. The norm, of course is the incredibly low 4.5% “hit” rate of successful innovation that companies generally have. Keeley said that “if you just use anthropologists, you can triple your innovation effectiveness by three times.” Think of that for a moment. That’s probably why corporations are hiring so many cultural anthropologists.

Keeley argues that companies can maximize their ROI on innovation by orchestrating four or five kinds of innovation at the same time. “Michael Dell uses 8 types of innovation,” Keeley said at the conference. “Google uses 8 separate types of innovation,” he said. Keeley said that Google has gone from no place to first place in four years to become the “most valuable media company.” More on this design and innovation conference later.

Reader Comments

Peter Bouffard

November 16, 2005 2:33 PM

I attended the workshop in Toronto last week and I agree it was an outstanding day. Rotman, BW and the presenters are to be applauded.
I am challenged by one piece in this new creativity and innovation puzzle. Why so little focus on the individual and "how". The genesis of all innovation is at some point the individual. Some actual person comes up with some of these ideas and then has the tenacity and courage to make them happen. As the creative economy looms, I think we need to find out support, develop, train, inspire, finance and enlist everyone to think about their own creative potential and how they can contribute to the new game.
This is where the rubber will hit the road.

Peter Bouffard
Impact Workshops Inc
Toronto, ON


November 18, 2005 11:53 PM

If I'm not mistaken, Apple's innovation was successful innovation after they laid off all their anthropologists

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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