Perspectives on Connected Innovation and Collaboration

Don Smith’s Sabbatical Insights

Posts Tagged ‘innovation velocity

Innovation Velocity

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This is a concept, a work in progress…

Velocity is classically defined as the rate of distance traveled over time. In the context of innovation, ideas move over time. And to be most useful, ideas require interactions with people in order to morph into innovations with business value

In a closed organization, an idea is likely to move as far as the idea holder’s personal network will take it. And the same idea will travel at a pace proportional to the idea holder’s communication plan. In other words, only so many people are able to interact with the idea, it’s fixed by the number of contacts in the idea holder’s network (n). Email to 20 contacts, you get 20 possible interactions as fast as they can read and respond.

In open or collaborative organizations, n is much larger. In networked or connected organizations, n is exponentially larger. Chances are the idea will be seen by your 20 contacts and their 20 contacts. And so on. More chances for interaction. The idea moves farther, but faster? Don’t know.

So here’s a question. How do you put the brakes on the process and capture the most valuable ideas? Feels like you need a funnel. Maybe the entire process can be thought of as a funnel made of mesh. Maybe the mesh is discontinuous. Each connection point a person. Some connection points are frayed and won’t flow. The idea has to flow around the web to the ejection point of value.

The bigger the funnel opening, the more people involved and more possible interactions. But the ejection point could remain the same size.

So, fast innovation only benefits those that can slow the process down. What size funnel is best?

Thoughts on this? Please share.

Written by Donald Smith

May 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm

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