DEEP Insight

Speaking the Lingua Franca of Innovation Premium

Learning to Walk Before You Can Run

Authors: Rao, Jay

Date: Third Quarter 2012

Tags: innovation, language, organic growth, incremental, platform

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Innovation is a discipline, a body of knowledge like any other. Unfortunately, our understanding and practice of innovation today is roughly where our understanding of the "quality" discipline was two or three decades ago. Consequently, we see a lot of executives stumbling in their initiatives. The good news is that, like all disciplines, innovation can be learned, practiced and mastered. As all innovation happens in a community, and the fundamental basis for the superior performance of any community is having a common language, then managers need to learn the lingua franca of innovation -- its structures, principles and concepts, methodologies and processes, frameworks and tools. As such, the first step to create a community of innovators is to teach them the lingua franca of innovation. Only then will the community be able to practice and master the discipline of innovation.

Tools and Frameworks:
> "Speaking the Language" summarizes the key concepts you first need to know in order to have the right conversations about innovation.

Examples Cited:
Total Quality Control, Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Kaizen, Motorola, General Electric, a large national retailer of groceries and home products, New Coke, W.L. Gore, iPhone, Kodak, Blockbuster

Research Basis:
Based on the author's extensive experience of researching, teaching executives and consulting in the areas of innovation, implementation of innovation initiatives within firms and corporate entrepreneurship.

About the Author:
Jay Rao is a professor of Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship at Babson, Massachusetts, U.S.A.


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