Innovation in Turbulent Times

image I love reading articles about innovation. And every now and then you read one that is very interesting. "Innovation in Turbulent Times" by Rigby, Gruver, Allen (in HBR, June 2009) is one of them.

This article takes fashion companies as an example for continuous, year-by-year innovation. And how successful fashion companies are usually led by two people: a left-brainer and a right-brainer. "If you don't have highly creative people in positions of real authority, you won't get innovation. Most companies in other industries ignore this lesson."

They extend this to show that successful non-fashion companies have the same kind of leadership. And this kind of leadership is usually also characterized by a long-term relationship.

I think this concept can also be extended to teams and projects as well. More often than not, people are good at one or the other: thinking up great concepts or ideas, or, making them. In teams and projects we can learn from this as well, and make sure our teams and projects consist of left- and right-brainers.

I loved this quote and will close this post with it:

Uncreative people have an annoying tendency to kill good ideas - demand multiple rounds of "improvements. They add time, cost, and frustration to the innovation process even in a boom. In a downturn the effect is magnified.


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