The first three roles in The Ten Faces of Innovation are about learning. Because one crucial ingredient in a culture of innovation is being able to LEARN faster that the competition. In Clayton Christensen’s brilliant Innovator’s Solution, he describes the ability of upstart “disruptors” to steal market share and eventually surpass the establised players, who suddenly find themselves as “disruptees.” In most forms of racing, the smart money is on the swiftest-moving competitor, not necessarily the one currently at the head of the pack.
How to accelerate the learning in your organization?
1) Tap into the power of The Anthropologist, and gather first-hand insights from the field about how people REALLY use your company’s offerings. Watch for places where customers stumble, where they hesitate in confusion, ESPECIALLY where they swear in frustration over the status quo. Use that “ground truth” from the field to inform the next iteration of your products and services.
2) Rely on The Experimenter to increase your organization’s rate of enlightened trial and error. If you learn from each experiment, and run those experiments quicker and cheaper than others in your industry, you can accumulate more insights and convert them into value at a faster pace.
3) Encourage The Cross-Pollinators on your team, who look far afield–to different divisions,different industries, even different countries–for ideas, and then translate that new-found knowledge for application to your unique circumstances.
Flexibility is the new strength. Find a way to learn faster.