The “backlash” strikes back: Vive la cluetrain

Markets, they say, quoting Doc Searls, are conversations. And if that has proven to be true of late, as Hugh points out, then the blogosphere has some serious thinking to do. For example, I’ve been following the interesting conversation on the "backlash against innovation" that started in Bruce Nussbaum’s blog, a similar kerfuffle to the one late last year on whether innovation was the new black or was it a banana, to quote Bruce again most recently.

Those who may be interested, particularly if they are even remotely connected to work which coincides with the words design, innovation, strategy, business, thinking etc may wish to take note. Its an amusing story, but I can find joy in the smallest of things.

Bruce wrote about the backlash originally on his blog, then Reena Jana’s article featuring Harold Sirkin and Rosabeth Moss Kanter came out, followed by ex Fortune’s innovation blog editor, Dominic Basulto referencing it in two posts on his new blog, Endless Innovation.

Now, I jumped in with two hype curves, one for the idea of innovation and one cautioning against the green design trend suddenly becoming hype. But the best piece of writing I’ve read has been Tom Guarriello’s post today which moved me to write this post, here’s a snippet:

Saying you want to focus on profitable innovation is a cop out.
Hell, if you knew what the profitable innovations were you wouldn’t
have an innovation problem in the first place.

Remember: first effectiveness, then
efficiency. It’s so tempting to believe that your culture will be able
to do them both simultaneously; figure out what all those others
couldn’t; pick just the right things that will hit the sweet spot on
the "cash curve."

Good luck.

Think of it this way: if you’re going to be off, which way would you
prefer? Would you rather have tried to innovate in things that didn’t
pay off (and probably learned something about innovation along the
way…didn’t we always hear that "experience is the best teacher?"), or
would you prefer to have tried to be too selective and ended up not
generating enough innovative energy?

How did it work in quality, again? Did Toyota tell its workers to
NOT provide suggestions to anything but the most important processes
and to keep those other quality ideas to themselves?

No.

They said, "give us your ideas about things that need to be improved." They then implemented in excess of 90% of those ideas

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