Humanity usually gains a great deal when a science progresses from the realm of anecdote to the realm of a rigorous theory bolstered by validating research. The germ theory of disease led to innovations such as vaccination and sanitation, saving billions of lives. The progressive understanding of physics led to radio, television, the computer, and, alas, the atom bomb.
In this brilliant video by Larry Keely, president of Doblin.com, Keeley takes the emerging science of innovation from the obscure, “hit or miss” landscape of accident and luck, towards the goal of reproducible, coherent, scientific results. Indeed, his talk centers on “The Science of Innovative Effectiveness”.
What tells us we are in the “dark ages” of innovation? Simple. His vast statistical studies have determined that current innovation practices have a 95.5% failure rate. In many respects this statistic is reminiscent of the drug-discovery methods that had to be employed before people had a theory of what drugs needed to do and how they did it. Immense research needed to be done on DNA, receptor sites, etc before a coherent body of theory could be leveraged to produce faster and more accurate results.
Keeley has studied decades of innovation in all fields, on all continents, in order to build huge statistical databases of how innovation works, and how it fails. In this video he gives a riveting account of his findings.
A few of my favorite points:
- As opposed to the “breakthrough” model of innovation, the vast majority of innovation is “sustaining”, i.e. incremental improvements.
- Innovation, while perceived to be about “new products” actually occurs in 10 domains, all of which are rich fields for profitable advances. An innovation in a delivery method can be as profitable, or moreso, than an innovation in product design.
- Great innovations innovate in more than one of these domains (think iPod for instance).
- Innovation via intent will produce more focused results than innovation via brainstorming. He calls it the Innovation Discipline Model.
I plan to view this video over and over again, and to get my hands on as much of Larry Keeley’s work as possible. This is the starting gate of a new era. By the way, many of the images on the video are available on the Doblin website.
Related Links :
Jack Welch Video
John Chambers Video
Techtags:Larry Keeley Doblin Innovation Business Model Core Competency