The fundamental difference between leading and leading innovation is simply this: there is no data on the future where breakthrough innovation happens. Try guessing what will be the hot consumer electronics item in three years or what miracle medical treatment will emerge in four or what the newest fashion will be in five and you get the point. The future is highly variant and ambiguous. This is why the number one form of resistance to innovation is excessive data collection. Have you been to the meeting about the meeting? Have you seen the report about the report? While you were stuck in the planning cycle others were out launching meaningful experiments and moving forward with a reasonable sense of destiny. (more…)

One of the biggest challenges innovators face is to truly understand the market opportunity space before they start creating a strategy and well in advance of product development. Since we can’t see the future, we need to gain some real insight from deep domain experts and make sense of possible scenarios. Even if the innovations are disruptive and the future is discontinuous, all we can really know is based on the data we have today. So it is through diligent inquiry and sense making that we get some general idea as to what will likely happen next. But creating innovations that we believe will succeed in the future requires that we first develop some clear foresight.

I was given such a challenge when a celebrated medical device company came to me with the following questions: 1). “How do we develop a vision of the future that is highly probable?” 2). “Given that probable future, how do we develop innovations that will have a high impact?” (more…)