Great Innovators Steal

Posted on September 8, 2014 by Pete Foley

In 1996 Steve Jobs expressed strong agreement with a quote he ascribed to Pablo Picasso, Good artists copy; great artists steal. This is a meme with a long pedigree, and has also been expressed in very similar terms by other creative giants, from T S Elliot to Stravinsky.

With quotations, there is often debate around who said exactly what and when. However, what I love about them is that, like proverbs, they often very succinctly capture a powerful insight. I believe this is one such insight, and one worth stealing. While the idea itself is hardly new, I believe that looking at it through the lens of Behavioral Science, and hence using analogy, enabled by deep causal understanding, and problem mapping can teach us how to steal more effectively.

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Innovation Exhaustion

Posted on October 14, 2013 by Jeffrey Phillips

After almost ten years of innovation consulting, I’ve come to learn some things about innovation, of course, but more importantly corporate cultures, hierarchies and power structures. After years of wondering why sustained innovation is so difficult, I’ve come to the conclusion that for many firms, innovation is viewed as an occasional variation from the status quo.

That doesn’t mean that innovation isn’t important. In that moment, during that project, innovation is very important. But while it is important, it is also obtrusive, works outside the regular working conditions, demands resources that are normally deployed in other work and introduces new tools and methods. Like a rubber band that snaps back to its original size and configuration, many organizations “snap back” to a historical norm once an innovation project is complete. And, often, what I’ll call innovation exhaustion sets in.

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