Sep 24, 2011

Innovation is all about execution

Innovation is often misthought to be all about ideas. Often people think that great ideas means great innovations. Actually ideas as such don't have much value. Ideas are easy to come up with, but what makes a difference is the execution.

One consequence of this false thinking of ideas being the important thing on creating innovative products, are all the systematic innovation methods and processes that are seen with companies and other organisations. From the book Inside Steve's brain I loved Steve Jobs citate:"trying to systemize innovation, is like somebody not cool, trying to be cool". That's exactly what I've felt on these innovation boosting systems what I've seen in many different places. They are focused on gathering new ideas. Often those even give the greatest value to ideas which are most original and are most weird and out of the current world. Revolution is quite rare, evolution is happening all the time.

Best projects where I've take part have had a real focus on details. Those have had a vision of an idea and then we've all been together working hard to get all the smallest details right. That have required lot of iterations and lot of errors. Making a mistake is a key thing on creating great innovative products. If you never make a mistake when creating something new and innovative, then you've just never realised the importance of learning and mistakes on you creation process.

I learned from the same book Inside Steve's brain another great quote, this one is from Pablo Picasso: "Good artist copy, great artist steal". This tells exactly what innovation is mainly about. If you think companies like Apple, they haven't really ever invented anything totally new. They've just taken good ideas from others and owned those and made those perfect. Same is true almost about any products or companies that are thought to be innovative. If you think Facebook, there's been social networks before them, they just executed theirs perfectly. Same is true about Toyota Prius. This innovative hybrid car was not the first or only car on the market that time, Toyota just executed perfectly and kept improving their early prototypes. Innovation is often about stealing, undesrtanding a great idea and improving it to be perfect when creating the product.

When you are working on innovative products, concentrate on details and vision of a problem you are solving. Overall all innovative products are solving real user problems. Some of these problems are just problems that will come obvious in the future and people don't really understand having those yet. If you think of mobile phones as an example, people didn't know twenty years ago, that they would need to be able to communicate with others everywhere. With mobile phones, the problem has always been there, people just didn't think that it could be solved.  

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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