Because of the globalization of business, commercial competition is everyday harder and harder. To maintain a leader position, or just to survive, companies must propose rapidly and efficiently to their clients new attractive goods and/or services. For this, they have to innovate, to evolve by creating new market opportunities or by adapting themselves to changing markets.
Therefore, as a responsible CEO or Manager, you know that:
"YOU MUST INNOVATE!"
.... but how?!
For the very first time in the history, I will reveal the "Secret Magic Mathematic Formula of Innovation" used by Apple, Google, 3M .... . Hereafter, the full demonstration to obtain the formula with which you will innovate safely, without any uncertainty.
Knowledge (including all your know-what, know-why, know-who) is everywhere, you can acquire it from your parents and family, during studies at school and higher education, by reading books, articles or blogs, by observing carefully the world around you ... .
But Knowledge without Imagination = An inert book (handbook, textbook, articles, encyclopedia or any other data in a data container such a digital database or the mass of your brain in your skull!)
But Imagination without Knowledge = Production of ideas (good and bad ones), useless by itself.
But Know-how alone = Craft = A useful skill but without a mission, still valueless
(Imagination + Know-how) without Knowledge = Creativity = A piece of art, maybe beautiful (or not) but still useless!
Knowledge + Imagination + Know-how = Invention
But "Invention" alone = a (tangible or intangible) prototype ... or just a gadget!
Invention + X = Innovation
X = Entrepreneurship
Invention + Entrepreneurship = Innovation
But something sounds wrong with this formula!
We cannot predict the future, and therefore we cannot predict if a (Invention + Entrepreneurship) can become an innovation. Indeed, we can judge if an invention brought into the market is an innovation (or not = a fail), only in posteriori.
What we have learned in posteriori from all innovations (or what one could name business successes):
A) All innovations have had needed around 35% of Invention (Creativity, R&D, Know-how, Conception, ...) and 75% of Entrepreneurship!
(These percentages are in relation of the use of investment done by innovative companies)
B) All Innovations have in common to have created new behaviours of users, new uses and meanings and therefore new knowledge.
So the final equation could be:
Invention + Entrepreneurship = Innovation + "New-Knowledge"
Entrepreneurship is the energy, resources and leadership needed to change, with the use of the invention, the behaviour of users, consumers. Therefore, a good CEO, managing an innovation project, must want to change the world, or at minimum the world of his customers!
Entrepreneurship is not an exact science. It's a mix of talent, leadership, opportunism, business sense/business education/business know-how, financial resources, .... and some Luck!
Entrepreneurship = Talent + Leadership + Business sense/education/know-how + Financial resources + Opportunism + Luck
B) New Meanings and Knowledge
The innovation process is inseparable from the knowledge production. Indeed, innovation cannot be done without a base of knowledge (nothing has been created from the nothingness!), and when an innovation is produced, there is systematically new meanings and knowledge produced at the same time. Consequently, organizations should consider knowledge as “capital”. This immaterial capital is deeply neglected in most organization, due to ignorance its value or due to the pressure of rapid financial return.
Identifying very carefully the knowledge produced during innovation process could have two benefits:
*Companies should hire talented and creative teachers!
Finally, what characterizes the failure of an invention to become an innovation is to assume that the company has failed to share its knowledge base and to educate its audience (specially early-adopters and lead-users).
Therefore, (Invention + Entrepreneurship) cannot be equal to Innovation, but rather to New meanings/New Knowledge that the entrepreneur share with his community.
Finally, we have:
a) Invention + Entrepreneurship = New-knowledge
b) New-knowledge + Community = Innovation
Invention + Entrepreneurship + New-kowledge + Community = Innovation +New-knowledge
Invention + Entrepreneurship + Community = Innovation
The term Knowledge is not anymore visible in the final equation due to the arithmetic rules, but it is still present and very important! It is the key of the success of the innovation process.
Another important point, the formula indicates that without an existing community, your invention cannot become an innovation. Therefore, the CEO of a startup company has to create a community of early users/believers/fans or infiltrate an existing community. CEOs of startups must understand that this is fully part of their mission, it's what Guy Kawasaki, former Apple Marketing Guru, calls Evangelism.
Community, believers, evangelism, evangelist, guru ... these terms come from the vocabulary of religions and cults ... because innovation is exactly the same process than creating a new religion or cult !
In conclusion, yes I lied in the title of this article: "The Magic Mathematic Formula of Innovation" ! There is no magic and no mathematic formula, but rather a cooking recipe and a sort of road map! And what makes the success of a cooking recipe is the dosage and quality of ingredients, sharing passion and of course the experience of the chef!
So, try and don't fear about failure!