Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Truth about Breakthrough Strategies

While this title appears a bit bold, the blog that came out recently from Strategy+Business does offer some good and straight forward advice regarding innovation and breakthrough strategies.  Much has been written about the approaches and environments that support design innovation, but I think this piece is an excellent summary.  The article offers a number of innovation stories and strategies and, while each strategy is distinctive, they all share common characteristics which can be boiled down to four points.

1.  All appear to have started with flashes of insight prompted by working on big problems.
2.  Research indicates that innovative strategies are sparked by precedents from unexpected places.
3.  Breakthrough strategies always involve a 'creative combination'.
4.  Breakthrough strategies are created by people, not companies.

This quote from the end of the story ties it all together.

'So what does all this tell us about breakthrough strategies?  They rarely come from a typical strategic planning effort.  Nor do they typically result from the common practice of generating and evaluating strategic options. ...  Instead, they start with individuals working on big, specific challenges who find novel ideas in unexpected places, creatively combine them into innovative strategies, and personally take those strategies to fruition--against all odds.'

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