Innovation Management - Measuring Failure
Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.
There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.
Failure is one of the hardest pills to swallow. Commercial failure is obviously not good: a continuous negative cash flow is bad news for all stakeholders. But there are degrees of failure and it can be measured:
a) Failure can lead to success. Ridley Scott scored a commercial failure with Blade Runner but went onto make some of the most commercially successful movies of all time.
b) How close was the endeavour to the strategic fit with the firm? Did the development and commercialisation cause long term problems?
c) Did the firm pick up any technical expertise that can be applied to other ventures?
d) Did the organisation pick up any business competencies along the way?
e) As a strategic option, was this the right thing to do? Knowing the wrong direction helps focus activity towards the right path.
f) What did we learn about our customers? Coke learned a lot about their customers when it brought out New Coke.
A good analysis can yield positive outcomes and convince shareholders to embark on similar projects in the future.
These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com/
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com/
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