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What is innovation?

I was monitoring the chat traffic in Dean’s Implementing SAFe class last week when one of the learners asked about how to describe innovation. Me being me, I could not resist the opportunity to draw a picture.

Lucky for you, the best way I could find to share the drawings was to upload them here. As a result, this blog post complete with killer art. 😎 

What Innovation is not.

What innovation is not.

Innovation safety

There are a lot of companies who will tell you have innovative they are. The word “innovation” is all over their marketing, website, and new-hire handbooks.

Much like the fastest kid on your youth sports team, if the person has to tell you how fast they are, they are not. Similarly, if an organization has to tell you how innovative they are, they are not.

Many organizations do not even recognize the line that exists which separates the known possible from the unknown impossible. They do not even get close to flirting with that space.

Many organizations simply take a look at their competition and copy whatever it is they are doing, tweak it, and brand it innovation.

This is not innovation, it is one-upmanship. I t’s lazy and insulting. Don’t do it.

What innovation is.

What innovation is

Innovation embodiment

Innovation takes place when an organization acknowledges the line which separates the known possible from the unknown impossible and then sets an audacious goal in the realm of the impossible. Then, the organization pursues that goal with relentless resolve. Example – SpaceX – “Let’s colonize Mar’s.” By their own mission statement, SpaceX is a failure. They have not come close to colonizing Mars.

However, consider the really cools things that have happened as a result of their failure.

Innovation is the freedom and safety to fail, learn, & try again.

What do you get?

The capstone

The most innovative company’s in the world never say the word “innovation.” They’re too busy building cool stuff while trying to change the world.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy

Falcon Heavy – The largest rocket ever launched.

Reusable rockets

SpaceX Docking

The Dragon capsule

SpaceX Dragon Panel

Simplified control panels.

& really cool spacesuits.

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