Thanks to a lifetime of friends, teachers, collaborators, suppliers and customers

Breakthroughs. Transformations. Revolutions.

From the light bulb to flight, from space travel to the iPhone, finding the key to delivering big breakthroughs practically, profitably and beneficially is not easy. Creating great ideas, transforming our world for the better, delivering great products and services profitably and sustainably – all are great objectives we strive for now every day. We search endlessly for how to efficiently, effectively and consistently advance our firm’s, institution’s or individual efforts towards achieving wide ranging goals on an on going basis. Most would agree that to do this in a world where accessible information is accumulating at an ever accelerating rate at an ever escalating scale, we need to manage our ability to develop new approaches and ideas much more effectively than ever before.

How can we do this? We must find the keys to persistently, consistently innovating, and more than just as an exercise, a session or a calendared moment.

A Simple Summary

What we have seen is that most efforts to date seem to be, while effective to a point, still piece meal and not comprehensive in nature to many types of situations. The current approach certainly gets no one ahead of the curve. Open, closed, disruptive, the ten types – it’s all either simply descriptive, overly linear, transactional or worst of all simply reactive. Most start only in the front end – delivering ideas internally or for clients that never see the light of day or get so clipped and chopped that they are unrecognizable and no different than the offerings were to begin with. None of this in the end is good enough if good at all, especially today.

Innovation – persistent, revolutionary innovation – is not just a 12 step program. It’s not simply tools. It’s not just a process or another fad. It’s more like a lifestyle, a culture – an attitude. Persistent innovating belies a certain lifestyle, a way of being. We’re not talking changing everything about yourself, your company or your colleagues or friends 100% overnight or ever. What we are saying though is that if there is not a substantial, significant change, much like those issues that author Gary Hamel speaks of – in values, passion, ideology and lastly, adaptability and innovation – our world faces a dire future. Indeed, we believe in an approach that combines taking on all five of Hamel’s core issues. In our view, we believe that a persistent, continuous, holistic, consumer derived, multi-disciplinary approach that we call Adaptive Innovation may key our survival in our ever-changing world.

Breakthrough innovation takes this idea to its highest level. For breakthroughs, the key involves training much like a high performance athletic team – not like an athlete, but as a group, a team – a company. To be candid, what you find is that if you yourself or your organization, your firm, are not “doing it” 100% of the time, as a part of your body and soul, it’s hard to be truly a great innovator. This does not mean you’re working 100% of the time or innovating 100% of the time. It’s more that to be a great innovator, you likely are inherently creative, always tinkering, always questioning, conceiving and trying, whether it’s what’s for breakfast, how to get to work more comfortably and quickly or transforming, yes, your company’s future or just you’re your own departments. Your like Thomas Edison, like Steve Jobs – not simply developing singular inventions but creating pieces and then systems that transform economies, lives and our planet.

The key here, then, for what we call Adaptive Innovation? Figuring out what exactly what “doing it” and “100%” really means. For us, doing this is all about a lifestyle, a culture and setting the stage for employing some basic principles in one’s own unique ways. No rigid programs, no extensive training, no bare feet and yes, there are bad ideas that really need to die as they germinate. Instead, it’s about the world, an approach, principles and leadership where adaption enables an unleashing of powerful, valued and profitable innovation consistently and persistently. We see that to do this, a few key principles emerge where working as a team, with our specialized roles in a world where there are no rules beyond global governance that govern one’s approach.

Per Hamel, within the bounds of established values, passion and ideology as one’s and a firm’s rules, one may persistently and consistently engage an ever evolving world to realize trends and their trajectories, develop insights and then develop innovative ideas and then commercial products. The approach becomes a lifestyle, a culture, an approach versus just processes executed, periodically scheduled on a calendar like a grocery checklist. That’s what we call Adaptive Innovation. We’ve seen it successfully applied throughout history, from Edison to Jobs and even to a few of the authors own endeavors, like Sirrus, a breakthrough materials company. It’s inexpensive, it’s simple, it takes less time and adapts to your own personal style as well as that of your group, your department, your firm and your suppliers and your customer’s. The best part? It can be repeated, over and over and over.

So let’s start with some insights that led us here and then describe how we see Adaptive Innovation.

Big Breakthroughs – Big League Sports

To us, “doing it” and “100%” means running this stuff much like a high performance sports organization. It’s not just about the team on the field for that one year, that short, brief time. It’s about everything that goes ideally into a long, persistently successful organization where change is omnipresent and the plays infinite.

Specifically, individuals who excel at anything in their lives have a way of making that effort, that interest, that passion become all pervasive and yet not all consuming in their lives. It’s simply in their nature to always be thinking about that passion, somewhere, some way, some how in the their subconscious when they are doing just about anything else but innovating. For an Olympic athlete, this means not being alone, but being surrounded by a myriad of support to gain old knowledge, expertise, viewpoints and experience.

It means scenario playing, generating “memories of the future” (DeGuess, The Living Company), so that you know how you could or should react or maybe even sense the likely next move. It means practice, training, repetition and exploration. Finding those who have won before, trained the best before, gotten great results before while simultaneously looking for the new, the different and combining it all to gain an edge not by hope but by a specific series of actions that give us that best sense of the future and what’s “needed to be true” to compete and succeed in it.

So what’s different then for breakthroughs for a team versus a single athlete? What makes this like a company? The simple fact that no one can know everything everywhere all of the time. In most sports, like industries or value chains, there are many key positions, roles and requirements just to play, let alone compete and succeed. Like football or baseball or soccer, the basic rules are there, but how you play is like chess – the variations in the end become infinite. One needs all of the aforementioned knowledge, expertise and experts, both new and old, but now its’ for many roles and responsibilities and the coaches, managers, coordinators, the consultants, the experts – the leadership – that can then coordinate all of this victoriously like a great conductor – repeatedly. Even here, the recognition becomes that everything stays the same while everything changes.

In the end, as with the individual, the teams, the companies, the firms who understand the world best and whre it may be going, in all it’s facets will likely have the best “memories of the future” and the associated “what must be trues” for that future and its products to win consistently.

No Rules

So then, what’s different about industries and their companies versus a sport and its teams?

There are no rules. The game is ever changing. The world is ever changing – and at an ever accelerating pace.

So to be truly successful, as in evolution, one must be able to adapt, and today adapt rather quickly at that.

More so, it’s an attitude, much like the U.S. Marines unofficial motto:

“Improvise, adapt, overcome”

In combat, to live, there are few rules, if any at times. While we have laws to protect some of the worst in business, that’s not what we mean here. We are talking about human needs, the products and services that serve them and the infinite variation within which one can meet those needs through an accelerating pace of technological and societal change that boggles the mind. It’s here that there are seemingly no rules beyond mother nature’s.

To survive, the absolute best not only improvise, adapt and overcome consistently. Rather, they have a way of seeing the basic needs of humans, the major likely futures and the what must be trues of the products and services that could serve them in new, unique and valued ways. This seeing the future thing and the what must be true stuff is not easy. Those who study it have noted that for individuals first, it’s over long periods, it’s often over lifetimes that accumulated thoughts on this are required to deliver big breakthroughs – that it is not some eureka moment that occurs because of some singular thought process in one singular moment.

A Lifetime Maturing in a Moment

Steven Johnson noticed this with Darwin. Darwin had no epiphany, no seminal moment. Instead, as his notes prove, the concepts emerged over time – a lifetime, essentially in totality, but in pieces that one day, suddenly, fell into place like the gears of a well oiled machine. In the end, none of this Adaptive Innovation backstory is new. It’s been going on a long time.

We looked to historical context to reveal this age old adaptive, holistic approach, versus a process, that has been applied by the greats through history – from Da Vinci to Darwin to Edison to Jobs. It’s Edison and Jobs that provided for us truly revealing insights into what Adaptive Innovation can be about.

Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison are rarely talked about in the same conversation or even the same sentence. While over 125 years apart in general, the two men shared a profound adaptive approach to innovation. Both followed the Innovation Lifestyle where they lived ideation and observation their whole lives, integrating vast amounts of accumulated life experiences and analysis to test theories of markets to create ultimately products that transformed our world and its history. The keen observation is not of their inventions, but rather it is of their unique recognition of massive opportunities, the core invention pool that already existed to serve them and the initial market need that while interesting and recognized simply by the public was only a mask over the massive opportunity that transcended their own competitor’s perception as well as that of the the general population.

Let’s look at the light bulb, by example. Edison did not develop the light bulb per se. Thomas Edison was interested in power and how power, if readily available globally, would be transformative and personally enriching to whomever controlled its development and distribution. Edison knew this could be transformative, but where to start? While Edison was competing at the time with Tesla over the type of current, Edison saw a bigger game some argue Tesla did not see. Edison saw that whoever developed a recognized need for power and served it would ultimately win the long game, no matter what current was chosen. The light bulb then? That product opened up businesses 24 hours, lit up homes for better lifestyles.

Power consumed by light is today around 10% to 12% of all electricity used. Edison saw the bigger market was everything else that might use power – like machines, equipment, vehicles, appliances and the like. The light bulb was only the initial draw. Get people to want lighting and prove that it was safe and then everyone might realize electric power could be used for dozens, hundreds of other applications.

To drive the adaptive point home even further, Edison did not truly invent the first electric light bulb. Rather, Edison tried 1000 known ways to make light, seeking and inventing the first commercially practical incandescent light. Earlier inventors included the patent he purchased from Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans, as well as Moses G. Farmer, Joseph Swan, James Bowman Lindsay, William E. Sawyer, Sir Humphry Davy, and Heinrich Göbel. Some of these early bulbs had such flaws as an extremely short life, high expense to produce, and high electric current drawn, making them difficult to apply on a large scale commercially. Edison knew innovation for it’s own sake was useless. It had to be practical, profitable, safe and easy to use. Edison understood the world he lived in, it’s context and trajectory and then his own memories of the future and then the resultant what must be trues for a successful product.

Fast forward now to Steve Jobs. Jobs accomplished the exact same thing with personal computing. Jobs realized that in the late 70’s and early 80’s that existing and emerging inventions coupled with Moore’s Law could transform computing into hand held devices whose uses could explode exponentially. At the time of the first foray, in the 90’s, the first portability test, the iPod was a way to get this technology into everyone’s hands whom mattered for his envisioned global transformation – his memory of the future. While other’s copied the product to best extent they could, few realized the real game that today is dominated by Apple and Samsung and thoroughly missed by Microsoft. If people became enthralled with it, find it a must have and easy to use, then they would be ready for Jobs’ next stage – the iPhone.

Almost all of us uses the iPhone 90% of the time for anything but actually making a phone call and yet Steve Jobs called it a phone because everyone knew what that was. The iPad was the final coup de grace. Steve Jobs, like Edison, saw a massive, world-changing opportunity few other did and then drew us slowly, inexorably into his web that some say he first conceived of when first seeing the object oriented interface. As noted by Arie de Gues in The Living Company, when steam shovel cable actuated tractor manufacturers tacked on a single hydraulic arm to one product saying “who wants hydraulics?”, Blackberry stuck a screen onto an immediately antiquated phone, not realizing what was happening.

The lesson here? The Innovation Lifestyle, for the true innovators, revolves around not simply inventions and technology. In fact, at an innovator’s heart lies a deep and profound interest and capability to understand the socio-demographic trends in the world around them and the ability to recognize the massive opportunities a cobbling of existing and emerging, individually unique inventions enables. Keep it simple, even in the boardroom. What’s going on in the world? Is it real, persistent or false and unreal? What do the major technology trends enable not simply alone, but in combination? Finally, can any of this make true a simple story about how a life is eased, exhilarated or made richer or how a company can persistently make more money via better products and or lower costs?

Putting It All Together

We’ve have spent the last twelve years distilling our own and a lifetime of others experiences into an approach towards innovation that takes into account the latter requirements without taking on a single codified process that in and of itself, becomes self limiting by definition. In fact, the last few years have even seen now startups created with this new approach, including Sirrus, formerly Bioformix, one of the largest materials and energy saving opportunities ever created.

What did we do? In the end, we have noticed that the most effective innovators use the common approach of adapting themselves and thus their efforts and processes to their world’s environment. They do not simply use closed or open innovation. They did not simply cobble together teams and apply rigid protocols. They did something indeed that was entirely different. They adapted, employing scenario specific resources for the moment, for that stage or step or challenge.

These great innovators of today work to find the best ideas, pieces of ideas, information and disparate experts, experiences and knowledge to try and see the world and that challenge through a different set of eyes, through a dozen sets of eyes. A great example of this power is seen by the few consulting firms who connect true global experts in either exacting or laterally related areas for brainstorming at the front end nit as employees but for only the time necessary to hit inflection.

Firms like ours, Elemence, and Richard Haasnoot’s lauded, long running I2GE will pull such experts together not simply for their expertise but because when one brings such minds on the brink of epiphanies into a room together they can catalyze each other over the edge for said epiphanies. The combining of two or more lifetimes of experience onto a major challenge – even a noble world challenge like hunger, water, education or energy – can be an amazing. As Richard himself says, and I’m paraphrasing here, “…it’s fun to just sit back and watch the literal combustion of great minds create fantastic ideas solving problems in hours that others have spent years, decades or more on”.

Our added take – carrying this the whole process, from global futurism through insights, ideas and inventions through to commercial activities and the insights garnered there. Don’t just do it in singular occasional moments – finds ways to use these relationship and combinations persistently in all of te Adaptive Innovation activities.

Today, this expertise and knowledge concept is exploding infinitely in its glorious possibilities. Rather than stay within, one can seek to employ moments of capabilities to see through many sets of eyes. With people, we can rapidly identify, contact, screen, select and hire for only those moments required for only as long as required the best experts in the world. Using Watson, Siri and other emerging artificial intelligence (AI) we can find, sort through and put in new context a vast wealth of information never before possible that when put before the aforementioned external and one’s own internal experts allows for incredible epiphanies.

Adaptive Innovation – Our Current View

The great innovators apply an adaptive approach to how they interact with the world and these expert resources, employing highly varied processes and tools that allow one to rapidly and uniquely turn these epiphanies into clear insights that allow for abstractly specified solutions – the actual innovations – that are the conception of eventual new products and services.

We call the holistic approach to aforementioned activities Adaptive Innovation. Our “academic” definition, dry as it is, is very accurate:

Dynamically adopting scenario driven resources, tools and methodologies for gathering knowledge, analyzing and developing insights and abstractly specifying innovative ideas that drive creating valued, viable inventions.

The facts are, like DARPA’s former leadership describes in a recent Harvard Business Review article, that the best innovations involve the people, the tools, the resources right for a cascading series of moments that culminate not simply in front end insights and ranked, filtered ideas but in actual inventions that are engineered into offered products and services that change the way we work, play and live.

While the ways people and groups work vary widely, as studied by Peter Senge and others, six areas of never ending, persistent work for Adaptive Innovation emerge:

Trends & Needs

– The world and it’s ever evolving state

– What are the world’s major trends, trajectories, realities?

– What are the dominant and emerging basic needs & challenges

Discoveries

– What fundamentally defines our world?

– Fundamental scientific understandings

Insight

– How do we fit in the world?

– Conceptually, what makes people safe, secure, happy and satisfied?

– What is valued?

Innovation

– What single or collections of features can be assembled?

– How can they create realizable value?

Invention

– What must be true for an innovative idea to work, to actually deliver value?

– What specific inventions, new or already existing, are required?

– The actual development of practical products that reflect the innovative idea

Products & Services

– Engineering existing inventions and refining them into products and services

– Manufacturing, offering, distributing, and maintaining products and services

– Knowledge and information generation related to these commercial activities

We see an interconnected web of these persistent activities while seeming sequential, like a linear process, are likely only generally that way. This is illustrated below.

The Adaptive Innovation Iterative Ecosystem:

 

 

While any number of loopbacks and interrelationships are plausible and in fact reasonable, our illustration’s purpose for understanding Adaptive Innovation represents a generally linear set of activities. Overall, a much more significant set of pathways interconnecting everything are required. The link from commercial activity to needs and then trends simply represents those activities as a primary source of a firm’s world understanding and feedback.

Insights are garnered from an understanding of needs in the context of varying trends and their trajectories. As information is accumulated and processed from all sources, a constant analysis must to be done to understand needs and the trends influencing them to ascertain the ever evolving cascading priority of needs to develop insight into what is of realizable value versus something that is relatively unimportant to any particular group. In the end, all innovation must start with and essentially be initiated by the consumer, the user, but the nature of the firm, competitive or alternative firms and all significant influencers must be recognized and understood for all of these activities. It’s within insights that the most important “what must be trues” are discovered, documented and tested constantly.

It’s from insights that one can derive abstractly specified, innovative ideas. Eliminating paradigms driven by the known, the existing, the familiar drives the highest quality innovation activity. Abstract specifications in the simplest form would be something like “I want to get from point A to point B quickly, safely, conveniently and comfortably”. This is far different than maybe a group who makes cars who only thinks about cars versus walking, a plane, driving or not driving or even being “teleported”. We all know the story here – the guys who made horse buggies were always thinking about the better horse and not the idea of no horse at all. The train companies not thinking about trucking or as Christensen pointed out hydraulic tractors versus cable actuated ones. Those who understand and can abstract products and services are far more likely to develop meaningful, contexted insights that take full advantage of emerging trends and know when to catch the wave and how. The key here are generating the short to long list of “what must be trues” for all the influencers and customers without which the product simply will not succeed.

Overall, innovations generally feed and direct two activities that mean to deliver on the “what must be trues” – discoveries and most often inventions. The innovation activities typically will reveal whether we can rely on existing inventions to produce products and services or are we dependent upon one or more fundamental scientific discoveries that simply do not exist yet. Discoveries involve developing fundamental science that by their nature, are of long term research to practical application. Discovery, by its nature, are activities not generally germane to today’s commercial activities, but are critical to tomorrow’s activities. Accordingly, we separate these activities and see discoveries as carried out primarily by government institutions, think tanks, universities and other collaborative efforts supported by industry and the public at large for the long term benefit of product and service innovation. It’s critical for firms to always be on the look out for last puzzle piece which may emerge as a new discovery enabling a whole series of “what must be trues’.

An innovator’s job is to deliver ideas that can make money, that is, ideas that can realize real value if a product reflecting the idea is developed. The innovator must develop a solid, commercially grounded story of why and how the idea will work at delivering value, not simply state an idea. The idea is not likely even a product, but rather it is likely a set of features delivering benefits – “the what must be trues”. A collection of features is reflected as a product that delivers a probably single, overt benefit (Hall). A business model must be developed at inception or the idea is simply of no practical value. The innovator is essentially responsible for developing a good commercial story about an idea that reveals, without even a prototype necessarily, how these features will deliver on the what must be trues for the idea to succeed. These what must be trues are essentially feature and/or product specifications that then guide the invention activities. The objective is to reveal those ideas that have a good story where their likely inventive realization is based upon existing commercial features versus requiring fundamental scientific discoveries.

The invention activities center upon translating the innovative idea and its specifications to practical, commercial reality as a product feature. What inventions are already commercially available and have an existing supply chain? From which industries may they be derived? What features will require what actual inventions? Can the inventive requirement be reduced into basic enough elements to reveal existing, practical inventions that on combination solve the need? Is a longer inventive process required? Again, do we realize suddenly that a basic scientific discovery is required to allow the idea to become a reality? Finally, once assembled, do we have a product that meets all the requirements, including the commercial one of creating value?

Adaptive Innovation – Reality

It’s it, but really through the entire process, that context drives everything – not simply the innovative ideas or inventions but even to the when and how knowledge is even identified, abstracted and analyzed. A holistic view means to understand context in everything, but especially the consumer for the ever evolving environments they are in. Context means the big picture. For most marketers, product developers, designers and innovators in general the true context concept seems often lost. People want to believe. They want the idea to do well. Problem is, companies are not in the business of ideas. They are in the business of making money by delivery a product or service that adds value under some particular, hopefully unique, competitive advantage. Ideas are none of those things, especially without context. Context allows you to position the idea, value the idea and truly understand if the idea has merit. Leave out honest, big context and you will fail and rather persistently at that.

While seemingly simple, putting all of these activities together can be complex and difficult to manage. The more inventions required, especially when from multiple disciplines, the more and more complex the management. The more different from conventional approaches, the more complex the development of a simple, positive consumer experience. In any case, these activities can be conducted in any number of ways with many different resources tools and processes. The contention of adaptive innovation is that many different approaches are plausible and that the best innovators will simply be those who can best manage the vast resources and tool sets and simultaneously be able to effectively know who to include, when to use what when and how.

In fact, it is our view that the number and types of processes and tools are so vast and the situations that emerge are so varied, that no single company can likely reinvent itself to handle them all alone. Adaptive innovation accordingly reflects this by acknowledging that rather than have companies expend vast resources trying to reinvent themselves, companies should instead seek to reallocate resources in such a way as to allow for their adaptive interaction with many different resources, capabilities, processes, tools, groups and individuals. The bottom line is that companies need to find ways to innovate without having to disrupt the very competencies that have made them and continue to make them successful. This is the concept behind Chesbrough’s Open Innovation concepts first published in 2003 widely used today, best exemplified by P&G’s Connect & Develop program. What’s different with Adaptive Innovation? Nothing negative. Open Innovation focuses more on the technology knowledge exchange activities and adaption to a firm’s specific business model versus Adaptive Innovation’s focus on an ever evolving, non-homogenous global society and the overall innovation process holistically from beginning to end in perpetuity.

To this end, Adaptive Innovation sees new companies emerging that will manage these complex activities on various levels. Companies such as Nine Sigma, Yet2.com and Innocentive reflect the more transactional seeking of specific features that are already or are very close to commercial application. On the other hand, traditional design and branding companies, such as Ideo, very capably serve the development of customer experiences utilizing generally known commercial technologies.

We also see another class of firm emerging, whose job it will be to facilitate the development of breakthrough technologies where a complex combination of innovations and inventions are required to transform an industry. These types of breakthroughs are difficult to achieve alone and often require an approach that for most firms is so different from their current activities as to be distracting and thus difficult to effectively implement. Accordingly, we see a strong need to be able to pull together a vast array of expertise, information, resources and capabilities on a constantly changing basis. Especially important to speed, efficiency and effectiveness will be the requirement that one have access to the best minds and capabilities on a just in time basis. Most firms cannot afford to have such expertise on staff on the chance that they might need them one day or even one hour a year.

A company that can facilitate not only the management of these resources, but access to them as well as the management of the insight, innovation and invention processes for complex breakthroughs will be a key to innovating in the 21 century. The key we see to Adaptive Innovation will be the management of all of these activities on a global basis and we are striving to be one of the first to effectively implement it. We even see a new scientific discipline emerging to train practitioners called by its originators at Georgia Tech “Strategic Engineering”. Strategic Engineering’s focus is the management of a wide range of disciplines required to develop the complex solution mandated by today’s innovation ideas, from engineering to design to economics to business management. In fact, our most recent successful start-up, Sirrus (formerly Bioformix) was completely developed on the principles of Adaptive innovation.

Adaptive Innovation – Example

When we created Sirrus, Steve and I had noticed some very simple trends that were being exploited on their face in seemingly strange ways. By example, to solve our energy conundrum, billions were being invested in new sources of energy, sustainable sources of energy and then chemicals that seemed bizarrely inefficient. Historically, no totally new energy form or chemistry simple merged and was adopted within literally a decade or two on a global, billion-person scale. Why them did anyone at all expect that doing so now was going to mystically different, easier and more likely?

Instead, we simply asked the question – what must be true to eliminate this conundrum in all of its facets, not simply the energy itself? How about turning the switch off and not using the power at all versus finding new sources of energy? Turning off a switch just seems a whole lot simpler. Well, at Sirrus, formerly Bioformix, we had been searching for years for a way to eliminate or radically reduce energy use and when we came across efforts in zero energy, high speed curing polymers that actually had kick ass properties, we realized not only could save manufacturing energy – we could change what things were made of and how they were made and then how they were delivered to the consumer. Just-in time, highly enhanced cabinetry delivered in 24 hours to consumers, auto finishing where without heat and solvent, all parts could be finished the same way in the plant and in the suburbs and BPA elimination at lower costs than current products, not higher. How about ultra light weight cars without needing carbon fiber…. How much energy possibly? Five (5) Quadrillion BTU’s or 5% of American energy consumption alone could be saved. For Steve and I, Sirrus is our own best proof to date that Adaptive Innovation works.

Closing Thoughts

Adaptive Innovation is therefore a very effective, simplified, holistic approach to innovation where one seeks to have access in real time to a vast set of resources, capabilities, processes, tools, groups and individuals to facilitate the consistent, effective, efficient development of insights to develop innovate ideas that are ultimately translated into commercial inventions that create value. You do not need to use all of that – you simply need access top the tools you need when you need them. No pre-set, rigid process, no dozen stage gates. – just a whole lot of common sense. Yes, for more complex breakthroughs, the more critical the management of multiple, highly varied disciplines will be, but the point is that it’s not needed all the time, very time. For most innovations, consistently defining and communicating simply, clearly defined needs and memories of the futures and their why must be trues coupled with most companies already existing processes that are capable, proven will enable employing Adaptive Innovation. Finally, and maybe most importantly – you need to do all of this within the context of not simpy an ever changing world, but hopefully within some strong, consistent values and passions contained within an ideology of benefitting mankind and the planet.

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A Final Thought – What in a Name?

Googling “adaptive innovation” brings back 17,800 results. That’s a lot. That could mean confusion. Ideo calls Adaptive Innovation “the squiggle”, the process of “create, learn, repeat”. Well, to us, that’s called scientific experimentation and does not directly imply adaption. Haydn Shaughnessy employs the words within his HYPE management software approach. We again just don’t see how software and internal management of ideas is adaptive either. While these and many other groups are indeed doing some terrific, world class work, it’s not in our view truly adaptive and getting firms truly ahead of the curve. We employ the name Adaptive Innovation to describe something much bigger in scale and scope – something global in it’s scale, in it’s impact and in it’s overall effort.

 

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