Stop Inbreeding Innovation! Scott Anthony at Bloomberg discusses innovation, stagnation and what big firms can learn from elephant breeders:
Inbreeding isn’t just a problem for captive elephants. Leaders seeking to drive innovation ought to ask themselves the degree to which their ideas are suffering because of innovation inbreeding. In many companies, it runs rampant, leading to staid ideas and disappointing performance.
Innovation inbreeding is when innovation efforts are consistently led by the same group of people who have lived their life within the company. Even worse is when innovation efforts are contained within individual functions, geographies, or product lines.
Plus three simple ways to avoid innovation inbreeding, such as:
There are obvious dangers to involving customers in innovation activities, as they may have constraining conceptions about your company. But Eric von Hippel’s research conclusively shows that in many industries customers innovate at a faster pace than companies do. Consider all the post-sales modifications avid bikers do to their frames, or even recipes developed by inventive chefs. Co-creation with customers sounds a bit clichéd, but it can pay big dividends.