“Getting Innovation Right” (Seth Kahan)

Seth Kahan: Getting Innovation Right: How Leaders Leverage Inflection Points to Drive Success
• Washington Post Bestseller
• Knowledge Management Officer and with The World Bank (13 years)
• Executive strategy consultant, working with CEOs to lead change and develop business innovations that improve market performance

Here’s what Steve asked Seth:
1)   The very first sentence in your book reads, “Innovation … is about success.” How do you define innovation?
2)   You talk a lot about – something you call – “Inflection points?”
3)   You begin by telling your readers about a time when YOU got innovation right…
4)   You talk about 3 forces that jeopardize innovation?

  1. The pressures of everyday operations
  2. The movement and stress that comes with new ideas/produces/services
  3. Market forces – sometimes rapid; always unpredictable

5)   How can we begin to “Build a Customer-Value Mind-Set?”
6)   You warn that we should “Scan for trouble brewing…”
7)   You are widely known for your expertise in storytelling and for using storytelling as a highly effective tool. In what ways does storytelling fit into innovation?
8)   You spend a lot of time on “value” and say there are 3 types of value (more, better, and new) …
9)   What about identifying what you refer to as, “Value Drivers?” (What are they and what questions should we be asking, in order to uncover them?)
10)  “Secret Shopping” caught my attention – you discuss it, as a tool…
11)  Let’s talk about “responsiveness.” You say that, “Very competent people often botch responsiveness as a group…”
12)  You recently tweeted: “To create engagement, draw your people into conversation, accept their experiences, and allow them to change yours…”
13) What is “Innovation Uptake?”
14)  Your opening inscription reads, “For visionary leaders of all kinds: may these tools and techniques help you innovate successfully for the benefit of all life.” …Is this about more than just business?

7 Common mistakes leaders make when it comes to succeeding at innovation:

1. They don’t think in terms of inflection points, looking for decisive shifts before they occur and preparing to take advantage of them when they emerge.
2. They don’t build the foundation required to successfully develop new ideas and take them to market.
3. They don’t collect the necessary intelligence to ensure circumstances are conducive to their new offerings.
4. They don’t take advantage of market disruptions.
5.  They don’t think through value from the customers’ point-of-view.
6. They don’t systematically use existing offerings to create more and better value.
7. They don’t drive the required uptake to increase and accelerate market acceptance.

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