I think the professionalization of innovation is something that companies must do sooner rather than later.
One of the interesting things about working here at Spigit is you get to meet lots of different innovation teams, across many cultural, sector and national boundaries.
Invariably, the innovators are people who’ve been thrown into the role from doing something else. Why? Because there are very few people with actual experience running innovation programmes available.
The upshot of that is new starters have to learn everything about innovation whilst they’re trying to drive innovation and then cross their fingers that they can do so quickly enough to make a success of the experience.
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So when I saw this article, which argues that the professionalization of innovation is a mistake, I was somewhat surprised.
We are a new field. The rigorization of innovation will take years. But the authors of the piece argue that going back to the dark ages where chaos was an acceptable innovation strategy is where it is at.
I agree with most of Jeffrey Phillip’s comments on this point, here.
Now, let us imagine for a moment you’re starting a new innovation effort from scratch. Would you, if you wanted to optimise your chances of success, just ignore everything everyone has ever done before you that worked?
I didn’t think so.
Update: The excellent Tim Kastelle also has comments on this, which are spot on, here.