Innovation Advice from the Leaders

Snippets from a Forbes.com article that I find inspiring: 

What Makes A Great Innovative CEO?
Anyone can change his or her behaviour to improve creative impact in a company. According to the authors of the Innovators DNA, the five skills of disruptive innovators are:

  • Questioning;
  • Observing;
  • Networking;
  • Experimenting;
  • Associational thinking (drawing connections among unrelated fields). 

Reflections on Innovation

Nitin Paranjpe, Hindustan Lever
“Typically, in an entrepreneur, ambition outstrips resources and that inequality forces the entrepreneur to think differently. We’ve learned to innovate by raising our ambitions and constraining our resources.”

Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com
“My job is to guide Salesforce. I can’t sit in headquarters and pretend I’m in touch. Odds are, what we’re using today will be obsolete in a few years. The past is never the ­future. But it’s easy to get caught up in the continuum.”

Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oreal
“Year by year, we increase our [R&D] budgets, often significantly faster than our sales…[We have a] permanent dialogue between research teams, who invent products which consumers have never dreamed of, and marketing teams, who listen to them and constantly analyze their needs. It is the richness of this exchange that drives innovation." 

Robert Kotick, Activision Blizzard
"The most important thing we do to encourage innovation is give people the freedom to fail…We really spend a lot of time upfront with our audiences…to really try and draw out from that what it is they would like to play…And if we disappoint their expectation, I think we are a very good learning organization, really digging deep into understanding why it didn’t work.”

Pradeep Sindhu, Juniper Networks
“Most R&D innovation at Juniper happens because someone looks two to five years out and notices a potential disruption. Our culture promotes vigorous debate based on a survival-of-the-fittest philosophy–regardless of the source. QFabric is a good example. It began as a what if conversation between two engineers debating ways to solve the data center connectivity problem at a massive scale. We formally launched it to the world earlier this year.”

John Freund, Inuitive Surgical
“The manufacturing cost to make the set of instruments required [for a mechanical wrist] was going to be much higher than minimally invasive surgical instruments…That was one of the many things that made the business unpalatable to VCs…So we came up with this idea of "limited reuse disposables”..[and] we figured out a way to control the number of times an instrument could be reused..That became key to our business plan.“

Robert McDonald, Procter & Gamble
"Our vision is to be the most digitally-enabled company in the world…To achieve this we are innovating…across all major business processes: from ‘molecule to shelf’…and from ‘ideation to consumption.’ We’re getting flatter, faster and simpler. We’re creating a technology-enabled culture through which consumers, employees and business partners seamlessly collaborate and interact from anywhere and at any time. And we’re learning to operate on a demand-driven real-time, forward-looking basis every day.”

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