We are seeing a lot of industries maturing, some faster than others. From automobile to media and banking are facing unprecedented stress. What they need is not a Botox job but radical rethinking of their business models. Innovative products and technologies, falling real prices to consumers, and abundant new product will slowly transforming stagnant markets into growing ones when consumer confidence eventually returns. The fact is if your organization wasn’t prepared for this downturn you probably have no much of a choice than trying to keep you heads above the water. If you can see beyond the next 6 months, you should be preparing for challenging industry leaderships.
For those just barely keeping their heads above water, you have no choice but to take radical step. Radical innovation is the only way to put you back on the map. Deep customer insight, applied imagination and collective creativity are the starting points to radical innovation. It is where the brave and creative mind taking up leadership, the pinstripes can worry about how many beans make five later on, we will deal with that. First, we want to imagine a brave new world that might have wonders in it. The challenge is to move from a blank page, a sharpened pencil and a lot of white board drawing to a model that is a part of your future.
Radical innovation for any maturity business has to be considered as three distinctive sets of capabilities, not one. Each requires its own skills, ability to see insights with new creative lenses, ability to apply creativity and imagination in solving customer unmet needs and creativity to play with new business model design without burden from legacies. All requires creativity.
The main characteristic of creativity is the ability of divergent thinking, bringing different approaches together to find new solutions for complex and ill-defined problems, we call it B-school meets D-school, often easier said than done. Creativity people are not necessarily designers; it is not the craft but the thinking that is most needed. On the other hand, not all MBAs are necessarily strategists; it is the creative mind that makes an idea strategic, the analytic is only for validation.
Creativity originates in the individual and it is the basis for idea generating. In my experience, you can optimize one’s creativity 30%, but it depends on your base level. It doesn’t help if you start with 10%. Creative people are unique personalities with characteristics who need to be stimulated in a specific way. We also need to accept the weakness often associated with creative people.
Creative people like to be future oriented, taking on super challenging projects and imaginative customers, and make solving problems as their personal missions. Receiving the recognition as being the innovator is important, both within the company as in one’s professional field of interest. These intrinsic motivators are related to radical innovation.
From information to emotions, creative leaders understand the power of emotion and that emotions of pride, anger and even humility are essential to “unfreeze” an organization and power it forward. Story telling becomes the most important executive skill for any radical innovation. I remember a few years back, I was running a 3 days offsite for a Fortune 500 company, 25 senior global executives and business units owners attended and each was asked to stand on a stage (a real auditorium) and talk for 30 minutes the three reasons their business units should continue to exist and how they create value for their customers and the organization. No power point, no new product talk, no spreadsheet and nowhere to hide, just a human plain story that translate their strategies into a simple stories. It was hard but they thanked me for making them think hard about their respective businesses. They wished they’d taken drama and improv in their college days.
On creativity and unmet needs, how often you've seen your colleague's lunch being stolen by a co-worker? Company 'fridge is no safe place for your lunch even your name was written all over it. Designer Sherwood Forlee came up with an idea. These sandwich bags are printed with convincing renditions of mold on both sides, meaning your coworker won't even think about it when he/she sees this package. $10 for 25 bags. Not sure what people think when they see you eating out of this bag everyday? Enjoy the weekend.