SUMMARY - Built to Innovate - Ben M. Bensaou

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Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Organizations need two engines running in parallel - an execution engine and an innovation engine.

  • The execution engine focuses on carrying out day-to-day activities efficiently. The innovation engine focuses on exploring new ideas and possibilities.

  • Execution relies on a logical, skeptical mindset aimed at efficiency. Innovation relies on an open, imaginative mindset aimed at creativity.

  • Both engines are essential but often the innovation engine doesn't get enough attention or protection.

  • Smart leaders recognize the need to systematize innovation, not just leave it to chance.

  • W.L. Gore shows how to nurture innovation systematically through policies like "Dabble Time" and cultural practices that empower individuals.

  • Gore's lattice organizational structure promotes collaboration, open communication, and distributed leadership.

  • Getting all employees to participate in both execution and innovation creates collective genius and ongoing success.

The key is balancing efficient execution with continuous innovation by empowering all employees to contribute ideas and dabble with new possibilities. This takes intentional structures and processes.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Organizations need two distinct capabilities - executing day-to-day operations flawlessly and innovating to imagine future products/processes.

  • Innovation should not be isolated - employees across departments should adopt the innovation mindset along with executing their core work.

  • Methodologies like TRIZ, Value Innovation, and design thinking can guide innovation, but simply making time for innovation and involving all employees is most important.

  • Physical innovation spaces help focus efforts, but virtual spaces like Bayer's WeSolve platform can also facilitate innovation.

  • Innovation participation should be encouraged but not forced. Convey that both execution and innovation are important expectations.

  • Understanding customer needs deeply, including non-customers, is key for customer-centered innovation. This requires overcoming biases like only listening to current customers.

  • Collaboration through co-creation with customers, academics, entrepreneurs etc. generates insights and ideas tailored to customer needs.

  • Effective innovation relies on continuously creating, selecting, implementing and reframing ideas. Reframing from an internal to an external view is crucial.

  • For mature companies, revitalizing innovation requires new approaches to R&D, strategically partnering with customers, and communicating that innovation is a priority.

    Here is a high-level summary of the key points:

  • Kordsa transformed from a supplier to an innovation partner by investing in R&D, integrating across silos, and reframing its business model. This was driven by the CEO, head of innovation, and key customers.

  • Kordsa fostered innovation throughout the company with training, recognition, hiring experts, and requiring innovation projects.

  • Processes like stage-gate system and quarterly meetings spread innovation across the Sabancı group.

  • Fiskars innovates through new products but also processes, empowering employees at all levels. Innovation happens through a structured framework.

  • Fiskars uses insights from professional users and customers to shape innovations. They innovate not just products but also services, marketing, processes.

  • Marriott acquired Starwood and had to balance operations and innovation. Empowering frontline staff with simple tools generated valuable innovations.

  • Organizations need to recognize frontline staff as crucial sources of innovation insights. They should incentivize sharing ideas and create systems to develop the best ones.

The key themes are: reframing business models, systematic innovation frameworks empowering all employees, tapping frontline staff knowledge, and balancing innovation with operational execution after mergers. Let me know if you would like me to expand on any part of the summary.

Here is a summary of the key points from Chapter 9:

  • Senior leaders play a critical role in driving organization-wide innovation by shaping the organizational structure, processes, and culture to support it.

  • They can advocate for appointing innovation executives, establishing dedicated innovation teams, and creating systems to facilitate innovation across the company.

  • Leaders can promote processes that allocate resources to innovation, and hire, evaluate, and promote in ways that reward innovative thinking.

  • Most importantly, leaders influence the culture by giving "permission to innovate", rewarding innovators, allowing reasonable failure, and modeling open-mindedness and experimentation themselves.

  • Removing obstacles to innovation can unleash employee creativity. Innovation brings engagement and richness to work.

  • Examples like Jonathan Becher at the San Jose Sharks and Donal O'Riain at Ecocem show how leaders transformed ingrained cultures resistant to innovation by starting from the top. They drove innovation into hiring, rewards, and modeled it themselves.

  • The result was powerful innovation engines fueled by intimate customer knowledge and continual innovation in products and services. This delivered growth even in traditional industries.

    Here is a summary of the key points from Chapter 10 on understanding the customer experience:

  • Step 4 of the 7-Step Innovating Process involves pivoting from the supplier-side view to deeply understand the customer experience.

  • Teams should go out and directly observe and interview real customers in their natural environments.

  • The goal is to map out the full end-to-end customer experience and capture likes, dislikes, and wishes in the customer's own words.

  • These customer inputs are organized into a Customer Utility Table (CUT) framework with the stages of the experience as columns and types of utility (functional, emotional, social, cost) as rows.

  • Customer comments are captured on sticky notes and color coded - blue for likes, red for dislikes, green for wishes.

  • The evolving CUT helps teams visualize gaps or opportunities for innovation in the customer experience.

  • Comments often spark new solutions - enhancing likes, eliminating dislikes, granting wishes.

  • Capturing the authentic customer voice and perspective is key to driving breakthrough innovation.

  • The CUT framework helps teams synthesize key insights from customer research for further ideation.

The key emphasis is on directly engaging with real customers to map the full experience from their point of view. This shift in perspective opens up new innovation possibilities.

Here is a summary of the key points from each chapter:

Chapter 1: The Innovation Imperative

  • Innovation is vital for business success and survival in today's competitive landscape. However, most innovation efforts fail.

Chapter 2: Why Innovation Fails

  • Common reasons innovation fails include lack of clear strategic focus, limited leadership support, risk-averse culture, functional silos, and poor metrics.

Chapter 3: Building the Foundation

  • Successful innovation requires laying a proper foundation like having a clear innovation strategy, leadership commitment, embracing risk-taking, and cross-functional collaboration.

Chapter 4: Setting the Tone

  • Leaders shape the culture and set the tone for innovation through their mindset, behaviors and role-modeling of key values like customer focus, collaboration, learning and risk-taking.

Chapter 5: Embedding Innovation

  • To embed innovation, leaders need to cultivate creative thinking across the organization, break down silos, provide training and tools, and integrate innovation into core processes.

Chapter 6: Empowering Innovation

  • Empowering innovation requires distributing authority, embracing autonomy, building capabilities, providing resources and air cover for risk-taking, and rewarding both successes and failures.

Chapter 7: Accelerating Innovation

  • To accelerate innovation, companies should use approaches like agile development, lean start-up, design thinking, open innovation networks, and creating innovation labs/teams.

Chapter 8: Measuring Innovation

  • Effective metrics are essential to track innovation progress. Useful metrics include customer satisfaction, new product revenue, employee engagement, process improvements, and IP generation.

Chapter 9: Sustaining Innovation

  • To sustain innovation, companies need continuous leadership commitment, alignment with strategy, embedded processes, ongoing funding, and a pervasive culture of innovation at all levels.

    Thank you for the summary. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions!

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