Innovation Principles

Innovation Principles

Innovation Principles Jonathan Poland

Innovation principles are guidelines that an organization adopts as a basis for innovation activities. They are typically considered foundational policy that are intended to guide innovation decisions, culture, programs and projects. Here are some general principles that have achieved widespread adoption in this core area.

Creativity Of Constraints
The principle that well designed constraints often spark creative results. Counters the common idea that creativity is boundless and unrestricted. Most examples of works that are considered creative genius were developed in a framework of constraints. For example, music is almost always based on constraints such as a harmonic framework, chord progression, conventions, style, genre or tradition.

Customer Focus
Valuable innovations fulfill customer needs and wants.

Design For Scale
Designing things to be useful to a great number of people. Design for scale also implies that innovations benefit from economies of scale, meaning that unit cost drops as more is produced.

Design For Sustainability
Aligning design with the sustainability values of the organization such as designs that are reusable, made of low-impact materials, recyclable, resource efficient and produced without harmful byproducts.

Fail Often
Fail often is a method of innovation that tests a large number of fearless ideas with the reasonable expectation that most will fail and a few will succeed. According to the fail often method, a lack of failure is a sign that a company or department is not pushing hard enough to innovative.

Fair Well
Fail well is the design of tests to fail quickly, cheaply and safety. It is used by innovation methods such as fail often to minimize the impact of innovation testing.

Feedback Loop
An iterative process of using feedback from sources such as customers to quickly improve an innovation.

Innovation Ability
The principle that innovation is an ability that is related to other abilities such as problem solving, design and divergent thinking. Innovation is widely considered a tacit ability that is difficult to detect with standardized testing.

Innovation Culture
An organization’s values, norms, habits, history, symbols and work environment impact its ability to innovate. Based on the observation that some corporate cultures are able to generate a steady stream of valuable innovations while others struggle.

Innovation From Anywhere
The principle that innovation can come from anywhere. Typically applied by creating processes that are accessible to all the employees to submit innovations for evaluation and testing. In many cases, customers, partners and the community may also be invited to submit innovations. Such processes may include incentives for successful innovation.

Measure And Improve
The principle that each innovation be measurable. A means of measurement is often a basic criteria for accepting innovations for evaluation.

Mission Statement
A mission statement for the innovation program. Innovative organizations typically have a strong sense of mission.

Open Innovation
Innovation is shared in the open in order to harden designs with peer review and feedback.

Order Of Magnitude
The goal of innovation is to take leaps forward by creating things that are an order of magnitude better than the current state of the art.

Precautionary Principle
The principle that an innovation be generally accepted as safe and sustainable before being launched to the public or released into the environment.

Reuse And Improve
Innovation reuses existing knowledge, technology and resources where possible. Discourages the common perception that innovation is always greenfield. In many cases, valuable innovations are a slight variation of an existing product, service or process.

Ship Often
Innovation is shipped as quickly as possible and updated often to rapidly improve.

Test And Learn
Innovation is tested early and often. Analysis and insight into testing results is captured as knowledge.

A vision statement for the innovation program that paints a compelling picture of the future. In many cases, a principle is established that each innovation program is to publish a vision statement.

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