To what extent is innovation manageable?

A new post on Fast Co. Design pushes back against the notion of innovation as impossible to control without stifling. As part of a larger conversation around the value of innovation consultants, the author argues:

just as every organization is different, there is no single model for how a company should build their innovation capabilities. But we encourage business leaders everywhere to recognize innovation as a discipline, believe that reliable and repeatable methods do exist, and invest in building their own capabilities—with or without the help of consultants.

It’s an interesting debate. What do you think — can innovation be managed?

Super Bowl ads are some of the year’s most talked-about. (When else do Americans eagerly anticipate commercials?) But if you live in the markets where it’s running, this Sunday you’ll see the video above, in addition to the spots for beer and cars. Sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, it’s meant to encourage the next great entrepreneur to act on her idea, to get out there and start executing. And as pep talks go, it’s a charming one.

fastcompany
fastcompany:

Silicon Valley’s New Secret Weapon: Designers Who Found Startups 
If you want to ship great products, writes the Designer Fund’s Enrique Allen, you’ve got to have a designer in your founding group.

This article makes a compelling case that it’s experience as a design practitioner that allows the creation of a really great user experience. Perhaps the recommendation doesn’t apply to every startup, but it’s worth considering. 

fastcompany:

Silicon Valley’s New Secret Weapon: Designers Who Found Startups

If you want to ship great products, writes the Designer Fund’s Enrique Allen, you’ve got to have a designer in your founding group.

This article makes a compelling case that it’s experience as a design practitioner that allows the creation of a really great user experience. Perhaps the recommendation doesn’t apply to every startup, but it’s worth considering. 

Ars Technica has compiled a list of the biggest science stories of 2011, with added analysis of how they’ll return in 2012. Even if you’re not planted squarely in the STEM disciplines, it does hint at a couple of broader innovation opportunities for the coming year. Specifically: Now that the sun has set on the space shuttle program, private enterprise is stepping in, with new technologies that are finally reaching the testing stages. This interactive timeline from Nature is also well worth a look.

The Weekly Briefing: Iran, Consumer Confidence, and Baby Boomers

In response to new sanctions and threats of an oil boycott over the country’s nuclear program, Iran is making ominous noises about closing the Strait of Hormuz. As the entrance to the Persian Gulf, it’s the gateway through which about a fifth of the world’s oil flows. According to the New York Times, VP Mohammad-Reza Rahimi recently promised, “If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” It’s certainly an alarming prospect, but the Washington Post downplays the risk. Such a move would cut off Iran’s shipments to China, as well, and the economic risk is simply too great.

The Congressional hearings over SOPA have been definitely delayed until next year. In the meantime, controversy continues to rage over the bill.

Read More