“You win by trying. And failing. Test, try, fail, measure, evolve, repeat, persist, …”
– Seth Godin, American author and Marketing Expert
What does it mean to innovate? My Mac dictionary defines “innovate” this way:
innovate |ˈinəˌvāt| verb
1. make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products: the company’s failure to diversify and innovate competitively.
2. introduce (something new, esp. a product): innovating new products, developing existing ones.
Innovation is making changes or making something new. We hear a lot about innovation today. I am surprised by the number of people, blogs, and leaders urging me to innovate! Innovate!! INNOVATE!!! without giving me some clear sense of why or how to proceed.
Here are three really good links on innovation that came through my RSS feed this week. They address both the whys and hows of innovation.
Why Newspapers Were Doomed All Along – HBR
Big idea: Birmingham and New Orleans will become the first significant U.S. cities (each has a metropolitan-area population of a bit more than a million) without daily newspapers — another landmark in the sickeningly fast and sure-to-continue collapse of the once money-gushing U.S. regional newspaper industry.
Key quote: “The Internet has unbundled the various businesses that made up a metro daily newspaper, and there’s no putting them back together again.”
The Social Network Gospel – Christianity Today
Big idea: How interconnectivity helps us better engage the Bible.
Key quote: “Think big, start small, fail fast; learn rapidly.” To try repeatedly is vital in engaging people with Scripture online. The digital environment welcomes raw attempts and quickly forgives trial-and-error efforts that are promptly corrected and adapted with improvements.”
Start-ups, Skunkworks, and Your Next Big Product – HBR
Big idea: For large companies to create new growth opportunities they will need to redefine what innovation means within their walls. Over the last ten years, as businesses have tried to understand and pursue innovation, their organizations have been left confused of its purpose and its benefit. Much of this confusion stems from applying one term to too many contexts. Most businesses are actually pursuing two types of innovation; product innovation and process innovation.
Key quote: “Allow small teams to iterate their ideas, to gather data and develop performance metrics, and to quickly discard less promising in favor of stronger ones. These organizations create strong networks, provide guidance, and help fledgling companies succeed where large companies currently fail; their single goal for existing is to bring ideas to the market.”
Why and how are you innovating?