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World Innovation Forum EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT INNOVATION IS WRONG Tom Peters/New York/0524.2006/ Inno.NEW.short.0524. World Innovation Forum: Alt Title YOU ONLY FIND OIL IF YOU DRILL WELLS.
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World Innovation ForumEVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT INNOVATION IS WRONGTom Peters/New York/0524.2006/Inno.NEW.short.0524
“In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed—and produced Michelangelo, da Vinci and the Renaissance.In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce—Source: Orson Welles, as Harry Lime, in The Third Man
Case: PerceivedRommel invents Blitzkrieg.Germans kick the crap out of the French in two weeks.Q.E.D.
Case: Lesson LearnedPlanned innovation (P.I., not C.I.) is possible, is cool, is effective. (Write it up. Publish.)
Case: RealityGermans cross Meuse into France. Whoops: French intelligence completely drops the ball. (Loses track of the Germans—no kidding.)Germans keep advancing; outrun supply lines; no land-air co-ordination. Hitler orders advance stopped.General Guderian never gets the word. Guderian marches to Paris, virtually unopposed.Germans as shocked as French at what transpired.After the fact, Germans label it “Blitzkrieg.”
Case: Lesson LearnedDo something.Get lucky. Attribute luck to superior planning.Get medals.**P-E-A-S-E read Fooled By Randomness: The Hidden Role Of Chance In Life And Markets, by Nassim Taleb
TP “Lessons Learned”Innovation = DisDis(Disciplined Disorganization)Luck is a very good thing.* **(*More “lessons” later: E.g., If you hire a bunch of disciplined weirdos and try a lot of weird stuff, the odds of getting lucky go up remarkably.) (**Career success depends on convincing others that you knew what the hell you were doing all along. Good news: Say it long enough and you—and “they”—will believe it. Great news: Keep saying it and you, too, can become a “guru.”)
Smashing Conventional Wisdom “Blitzkrieg in fact emerged in a rather haphazard way from the experience of the French campaign, whose success surprised the Germans as much as the French. Why otherwise did the High Command try on various occasions, with Hitler’s backing, to slow the panzers down? The victory in France* came about partly because the German High Command temporarily lost control of the battle. The decisive moment in this process was Guderian’s decision to move immediately westward on 14 May, the day after the Meuse crossing, wrenching the whole of the rest of the army along behind him.” *messed up traffic, little close air support, random heroics by some small bits of Guderian’s forces, Guderian not a disciple of the WWI-derived “strategy of indirect approach” Source: Julian Jackson, The Fall of France
Lessons: ContainerizationNeed-drivenA thousand “parents”MessyEvolutionary“Trivial”ExperimentationTrial & ERRORLoooong time for systemic adaptation/s(many innovations) (bill of lading, standard time)Not …“Plan-driven”The product of “Strategic Thinking/Planning”The product of “focus groups”
First-level Scientific SuccessFanaticismPersistence-Dogged TenacityPatience (long haul/decades)-Impatience (in a hurry/”do it yesterday”)PassionEnergyRelentlessness (Grant-ian) EnthusiasmDriven (nuts!) (Brutal?) CompetitivenessEntrepreneurialPragmatic (R.F!A.)Scrounge (“gets” the logistics-infrastructure bit)Master of Politics (internal-external)Tactical GeniusPursuit of (Oceanic) Excellence!High EQ/Skillful in Attracting + Keeping Talent/MagneticProlific (“ground up more pig brains”)EgocentricSense of History-DestinyFuturistic-In the MomentMono-dimensional (“Work-life balance”? Ha!)Exceptionally IntelligentExceptionally Clever (methodological shortcuts/methodological genius)Luck
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”—Charles Darwin
“The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.”—James Yorke, mathematician, on chaos theory in The New Scientist
“Rewardexcellent failures. Punishmediocre successes.”Phil Daniels, Sydney exec
What “We” Know “For Sure” About InnovationBig mergers [by & large] don’t workScale is over-ratedStrategic planning is the last refuge of scoundrelsFocus groups are counter-productive“Built to last” is a chimera (stupid)Success kills“Forgetting” is impossibleRe-imagine is a charming idea“Orderly innovation process” is an oxymoronic phrase (= Believed only by morons with ox-like brains)“Tipping points” are easy to identify … long after they will do you any good“Facts” aren’tAll information making it to the top is filtered to the point of danger and hilarity“Success stories” are the illusions of egomaniacs (and “gurus”)If you believe the “cause & effect” memoirs of CEOs you should be institutionalized“Herd behavior” (XYZ is “hot”) is ubiquitous … and amusing“Top teams” are “Dittoheads”Statistically,CEOs have little effect on performance“Expert” prediction is rarely better than rolling the dice
“Forbes100” from 1917 to 1987: 39 members of the Class of ’17 were alive in ’87; 18 in ’87 F100; 18 F100 “survivors” underperformed the market by 20%; just 2 (2%), GE & Kodak, outperformed the market 1917 to 1987.S&P 500 from 1957 to 1997: 74 members of the Class of ’57 were alive in ’97; 12 (2.4%) of 500 outperformed the market from 1957 to 1997.Source: Dick Foster & Sarah Kaplan, Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market
“I am often asked by would-be entrepreneurs seeking escape from life within huge corporate structures, ‘How do I build a small firm for myself?’ The answer seems obvious:Buy a very large one and just wait.”—Paul Ormerod, Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics
“Not a single company that qualified as having made a sustained transformation ignited its leap with a big acquisition or merger.Moreover, comparison companies—those that failed to make a leap or, if they did, failed to sustain it—often tried to make themselves great with a big acquisition or merger. They failed to grasp the simple truth that while you can buy your way to growth, you cannot buy your way to greatness.”—Jim Collins/Time/2004
“Almost every personal friend I have in the world works on Wall Street. You can buy and sell the same company six times and everybody makes money,but I’m not sure we’re actually innovating. … Our challenge is to take nanotechnology into the future, to do personalized medicine …”—Jeff Immelt/2005
“I don’t believe in economies of scale.You don’t get better by being bigger. You get worse.”—Dick Kovacevich/Wells Fargo/Forbes/08.04 (ROA: Wells, 1.7%; Citi, 1.5%; BofA, 1.3%; J.P. Morgan Chase, 0.9%)
Scale?“Microsoft’s Struggle With Scale”—Headline, FT, 09.2005“TroublingExits at Microsoft” —Cover Story, BW, 09.2005“Too Big to Move Fast?”—Headline, BW, 09.2005
“But what if [former head of strategic planning at Royal Dutch Shell] Arie De Geus is wrong in suggesting, in The Living Company, that firms should aspire to live forever? Greatness is fleeting and, for corporations, it will become ever more fleeting.The ultimate aim of a business organization, an artist, an athlete or a stockbroker may be to explode in a dramatic frenzy of value creation during a short space of time, rather than to live forever.”—Kjell Nordström and Jonas Ridderstråle, Funky Business
“Ninety percent of what we call ‘management’ consists of making it difficult for people to get things done.”– Peter Drucker
“Execution is the jobof the business leader.”—Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan/ Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
“Execution isasystematic processof rigorously discussing hows and whats, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.”—Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan/ Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
“We have a ‘strategic plan.’ It’s called doing things.”— Herb Kelleher
“This is so simple it sounds stupid, but it is amazing how few oil people really understand that you only find oil if you drill wells.You may think you’re finding it when you’re drawing maps and studying logs, but you have to drill.” Source: The Hunters, by John Masters, Canadian O & G wildcatter
“While many people big oil finds with big companies, over the years about 80 percent of the oil found in the United States has been brought in by wildcatters such as Mr Findley, says Larry Nation, spokesman for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.”—WSJ, “Wildcat Producer Sparks Oil Boom in Montana,” 0405.2006
“GE has set a standard of candor. … There is no puffery. … There isn’t an ounce of denial in the place.”—Kevin Sharer, CEO Amgen, on the “GE mystique” (Fortune)
“The ‘surplus society’ has a surplus of similar companies, employing similarpeople, with similareducational backgrounds, coming up with similarideas, producing similarthings, with similarprices and similarquality.” —Kjell Nordström and Jonas Ridderstråle,Funky Business
Measure “Strangeness”/Portfolio QualityStaffConsultantsVendorsOut-sourcing Partners (#, Quality)Innovation Alliance PartnersCustomersCompetitors (who we “benchmark” against)Strategic Initiatives Product Portfolio (LineEx v. Leap)IS/IT ProjectsHQ LocationLunch MatesLanguageBoard
“The Bottleneck Is at the Top of the Bottle”“Where are you likely to find people with the least diversity of experience, the largest investment in the past, and the greatest reverence for industry dogma:Atthetop!”— Gary Hamel/Harvard Business Review
“Beware of the tyranny of making SmallChanges to SmallThings. Rather, make Big Changes to BigThings.”—Roger Enrico, former Chairman, PepsiCo