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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On Creating Game-Changing Innovations

Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit (makers of great softwarea solutions like Quicken, Quickbooks, TurboTax, etc.) has some great insight on on creating game-changing innovations.

As Cook suggests:

"Innovation happens at the junction between business and customer needs, not from executive ideas or lonely geniuses within the company. Indeed, innovation bottlenecks are often at the top. Creating a culture of innovation is about nurturing customer observation, incubating new ideas, celebrating failure, and staying out of the way."

At Intuit, the goal is to change lives so profoundly that people can't imagine going back to the old way. With that in mind, Cook gave some examples of game-changing business ideas and showed how they were born by the understanding of an unmet customer need and really good innovative solutions.

Cook also highlights the five principles of corporate innovation and outlined the five basic models of innovation:
  1. The lone genius
  2. The boss is a genius
  3. Copy competitors' inventions
  4. Cloister the geniuses in a lab
  5. Make your people the geniuses
Not surprisingly, Scott Cook prefers model #5:

"This is what really works. None of the other models are sustainable or effective in creating a culture of innovation in the long term. Models 1-4 tend to create pockets of innovation that are limited and isolated from the rest of the company. The source of invention is unlikely to be the big executive: innovation comes from where the business connects to customers. It scales, because it allows the company to create many "contact" groups between the company and the customers."

The full text of Scott Cook's presentation at CHI 2006 has also been posted by S├ębastien Paquet.

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