Monday, November 14, 2005

The art of innovation! (Lessons from IDEO)

Here’s the gist of the book - The art of innovation. The book is written by Tom Kelly, one of the top managers and the brother of the founder of the design firm, IDEO.


Thoughts and concepts that caught my attention and imagination. Some of these statements come with an attached context and may therefore not convey the complete message. All points in italics are direct quotes.


·          Innovation is a result of methodologies, practices, culture and infrastructure

·          IDEO’s style of innovation – understand the environment and everything associated with the requirement like the market, customers, technology etc, observe real situations, visualize, evaluate and refine, implement

·          Innovation is something that redesigns the experience

·          Embracing of risk and failures is a must for innovation to stand upright

·          When you are stuck, talk to all the smart people you know

·          Observation-fuelled insight is what makes innovation possible

·          Traveling and asking fundamental questions like why and why not fuels innovative thinking

·          Whether it’s art, science, technology, or business, inspiration often comes from being close to the action

·          Good consultants are good observers of people, teams, organizations, technologies, and trends. They see quirks and patterns

·          The best products embrace people’s differences

·          Listen to your inner child

·          Cross-pollination is the alchemy of innovation

·          Brainstorming needs a well-honed description of the problem statement

·          The book is full of talk about KM though it is not labeled so. The emphasis is on collaborative and collective thinking and learning and letting go of ideas to the team so it can be enhanced and developed. The need for teams to respect and trust each other…

·          A team that works well together can be like an avalanche of energy and enthusiasm  

·          When people feel special, they’ll perform beyond your wildest dreams

·          Celebrate your team members’ differences

·          The importance and significance and the essential nature of prototyping is over-emphasized

·          A playful, iterative approach to problems is one of the foundations of our culture of prototyping

·          When the project is especially complex, prototyping is a way of making progress when the challenges seem insurmountable

·          The process of prototyping can spark little innovations, the sort that can be the difference between a product’s success and failure

·          It’s easy to reject a dry report or a flat drawing. But models often surprise, making it easier to change your mind and accept new ideas

·          Sometimes it helps to have team members and even clients express the project through archetypical characters in a little improvisational skit

·          Prototyping can also remind you that sometimes the most obvious, simplest solution is the best

·          Prototype with energy and enthusiasm, and you’ve got a good chance of hitting upon the very feature or product that resonates with your customers

·          Prototyping, brainstorming and observations. These are the fundamentals, the reading, writing and arithmetic of innovation.

·          The book devotes a chapter for work spaces and stresses the importance of setting up work spaces that inspire and amuse and are both open as well as private

·          The book also talks about serendipity being a major source of innovation

·          The trick is to find that delicate balance between complete choreography and pure inspiration

·          Routine is the enemy of innovation

·          One needs to be an editor to cut away what’s not needed for one’s selling pitch -  the product scrip

·          Selling – make a great entrance, use metaphors, think briefcase, use colours, be transparent, have a single USP, focus on the right features that resonate with customers


 My own - partly borrowed- conclusion – the distance between a good idea and a successful product is bridged well by a prototype


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