I’ve been renovating a house for quite some time now and have run out of projects to work on. So, now it’s time to move in. In preparation for the big event, I am working my way through the accumulation of stuff that has accreted over the twenty eight years I’ve been in my current abode to determine what is making the move with me, and what is going to be left behind. It’s amazing to see how much we hold on to that we don’t actually need.
Often, holding on to old ideas and outmoded ways on thinking that no longer serve the interests of an organization can be a serious impediment to innovation. Psychological inertia about what is important, what drives our markets, and our products can blind us to the new vision we really need. You should make it a regular practice to periodically sift your foundational assumptions and clear out the innovation baggage that blocking your view of what’s next.
Here are five questions to ask yourself:
- What are my core competencies around which to build value? This is different than what are your products or offerings today. Your product might be roofing shingles, but perhaps your competency is in woven mat technologies.
- Where are my current products and technologies on their evolutionary s-curve? Is there still plenty of runway for innovation and growth, or is it time to start looking for a way to jump to a new s-curve?
- Who are my future customers and does my current innovation agenda put me on the right trajectory to in meet their future needs?
- How well am I balancing investment in current revenue producing products versus building the revenue channels I need tomorrow?
- Why do I believe some of my assumptions are true? What opportunities could I find if I throw all the assumptions out the window and re-think my strategy starting with a tabula rasa?
These are simple questions that are not so easy to answer. But they can help you identify your innovation baggage.
What other ways do you use to clean out your closet of innovation baggage?