How MBA’s Kill Innovation S13 Ep13

Guest: David Robertson - author of "The Power of Little Ideas"

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While most innovators think about innovation across two types, incremental and disruptive, there is actually a third type; little ideas. Little ideas are complimentary to the existing offerings thus low risk. At the same time, little ideas can have high impact. The risk for little ideas is the desire by managements and the MBA's to apply traditional management approaches. The typical approaches, such as defining success KPI's at the start,  is what will kill innovation inside an organization.

Today's guest, David Robertson, is the author of The Power of Little Ideas and we discuss:

How MBA's Kill Innovation

  • The benefits and challenges of management consulting projects with such firms as McKinsey.
  • Background on the concept of the little ideas and why its the “third way” to innovate.
  • Walk through the four decisions organizations need to make when it comes to innovation.
    • What is your key product?
    • What is your business promise?
    • How will you innovate?
    • How will you deliver your innovations?
  • How do MBA's kill innovation?
  • Why are early metrics a risk to innovation?
  • How should companies be organized to take advantage of little ideas?
  • Why the metaphor of “innovation is dating” is so powerful
  • How do get the MBA to understand why little ideas is different?

About David Robertson ..

David Robertson is a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2002 through 2010, he was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. Robertson is the host of Innovation Navigation, a weekly radio show and podcast that focuses on the management of innovation. Robertson is the author of Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry and coauthor of Enterprise Architecture as Strategy.

About David Books, The Power of Little Ideas ..

The Power of Little Ideas looks at how well-known companies, including CarMax, GoPro, LEGO, Gatorade, Disney, USAA, Novo Nordisk, Victoria’s Secret, and many others, used this approach to stave off competitive threats and achieve great success. The book lays out a clear four-step process for implementing this approach to innovation, outlines the organizational practices that can unintentionally torpedo this approach in companies, and shows how organizations can overcome those challenges.

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