Knowledge for Innovation: Learning and Experience

In the previous articles of this series, we wrote about Internal Knowledge, Time Horizon, and Frontier Sciences and Academic Knowledge. Here we deal with Learning and Experience. Learning and experience, the accumulated knowledge carried by an individual, is the box shown to the left of academic knowledge in the figure. It is the sum of an individual’s education, which also belongs in the area of academic knowledge, and experience. As such, it is a complex collection peculiar to each individual. When trying to understand and explain the mysterious mechanisms that made them follow a path that nobody ever followed before them, many inventors refer to some long-ago, fortuitous event that left a mark on his or her mind. A person who

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Knowledge for Innovation: Academic Knowledge

In the previous articles of this series, we wrote about Internal Knowledge, Time Horizon, and Frontier Sciences. Here we deal with Academic Knowledge. The natural fate of frontier knowledge is to rapidly pass to the most advanced laboratories and academic teams in the relevant field, as indicated by the box labeled academic knowledge and shown to the left of the one labeled frontier sciences in the figure. They then reprocess and test the new discovery and evaluate all fruitful applications and potentials extensions of the concept. A critical task usually done at this stage is the reformulation of the new knowledge into wording more accessible to a larger number of people and disseminating it via review papers and conference keynote

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Knowledge for Innovation: Frontier Sciences

Knowledge is the fuel of innovation. In the previous articles we wrote about internal knowledge and about time horizon. This article is about Frontier Sciences. Further away from the daily activity of most companies, we have located the new knowledge generated by basic research or emerging application fields. We call these the frontier sciences. At the beginning nobody knows how soon this new knowledge will be relevant to industrial innovation. However, this new knowledge certainly has an intrinsic potential for creating novel combinations that will affect the industry eventually. Important discoveries penetrate industry as waves with associated delays. The typical delay and duration varies widely; electricity came as huge wave but slowly, stretching on for half a century. Conversely, it took

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EMBA Masterclass: Stefan Lindegaard

Last December, Stefan Lindegaard was back in Paris to run a Masterclass hosted by the EMBA of the Telecom Ecole de Management. The topic: Are you ready to transform, or die? Stefan performed a stylistic combination of smoothness and take-no-prisoners questioning, always striving to awaken the will to disrupt that slumbers within the audience. What was his main message? “Become competitively unpredictable!” Today’s competitors are known, but tomorrow’s competitors and ecosystem partners are unknown. What advantage does becoming competitively unpredictable bring? Stefan views making their organization capable of working with unknown elements as one of the top priorities of today’s executives. Many have been aware for a long time of the importance of becoming adaptive, fluid and transformative, and this imperative remains

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Knowledge for Innovation: Trends and Environment for Innovation Deployment Horizon

Knowledge is at the source of the rationale for the key decisions that shape and drive an innovation project. Relevant knowledge can come from a wide variety of sources. Winners at the innovation game are the best at rapidly seeking, filtering, digesting, and interpreting the appropriate knowledge. In the previous article we wrote about Internal Knowledge. We have positioned on the left side of the figure all knowledge related to the industrial and social environment in which a potential innovation project should be considered. This knowledge is typically acquired by a company when defining its strategy. However, when an innovative concept is proposed, it is very important to revisit the environment for the proposed project. By environment, we mean the broad,

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Innovation risk management as a gambling game

“Fail often, but fail fast and cheap” is a well known mantra, often repeated by innovation gurus. However this piece of wisdom is not so easily understood by enthusiastic would-be inventors and innovators. This text attempts to illustrate this somewhat puzzling recommendation and demonstrate by a priori reasons how true, challenging and beneficial it is to fail fast and cheap. 1- Failure as most likely fate for innovation Innovation starts with an original idea, an invention. This idea is new; it sounds great but, as nobody has materialized this idea before, trying to go on with it and generating value implies opening a trail within unexplored territory. Indeed the idea will have to blossom in a context dominated by knowledge

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Knowledge for Innovation: Internal Knowledge Flow

Knowledge is at the source of the rationale for the key decisions that shape and drive an innovation project. Relevant knowledge can come from a wide variety of sources. Winners at the innovation game are the best at rapidly seeking, filtering, digesting, and interpreting the appropriate knowledge. Relevant knowledge comes first from within the company contemplating the new endeavor. Although it may be considered obvious, we take this opportunity to stress the importance of the internal knowledge transfer shown as the upper vertical arrows in the figure. Above all, the innovation drive must be consistent with the company’s strategy. This requirement is not as easy to satisfy as you may think. In real life, company strategies are often vague, wishful,

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