The Secret Magic Mathematic Formula of Innovation
Finally Discovered and Revealed To You
Because of the globalization of business, commercial competition is everyday harder and harder. To maintain a leader position, or just to survive, companies must propose rapidly and efficiently to their clients new attractive goods and/or services. For this, they have to innovate, to evolve by creating new market opportunities or by adapting themselves to changing markets.
Therefore, as a responsible CEO or Manager, you know that:
"YOU MUST INNOVATE!"
.... but how?!
For the very first time in the history, I will reveal the "Secret Magic Mathematic Formula of Innovation" used by Apple, Google, 3M .... . Hereafter, the full demonstration to obtain the formula with which you will innovate safely, without any uncertainty.
Knowledge (including all your know-what, know-why, know-who) is everywhere, you can acquire it from your parents and family, during studies at school and higher education, by reading books, articles or blogs, by observing carefully the world around you ... .
But Knowledge without Imagination = An inert book (handbook, textbook, articles, encyclopedia or any other data in a data container such a digital database or the mass of your brain in your skull!)
But Imagination without Knowledge = Production of ideas (good and bad ones), useless by itself.
But Know-how alone = Craft = A useful skill but without a mission, still valueless
- If you add all the previous ingredients together, you could get:
Knowledge + Imagination + Know-how = Invention
- Therefore, you have to add something (X) to the invention to transform it into innovation. Here the final equation:
X = Entrepreneurship
Invention + Entrepreneurship = Innovation
But something sounds wrong with this formula!
We cannot predict the future, and therefore we cannot predict if a (Invention + Entrepreneurship) can become an innovation. Indeed, we can judge if an invention brought into the market is an innovation (or not = a fail) only a posteriori.
What we have learned a posteriori from all innovations (or what one could name business successes):
A) All innovations have had needed around 35% of Invention (Creativity, R&D, Know-how, Conception, ...) and 75% of Entrepreneurship!
(These percentages are in relation of the use of investment done by innovative companies)
B) All Innovations have in common to have created new behaviours of users, new uses and meanings and therefore new knowledge.
So the final equation could be:
Invention + Entrepreneurship = Innovation + "New-Knowledge"
Entrepreneurship is the energy, resources and leadership needed to change, with the use of the invention, the behaviour of users, consumers. Therefore, a good CEO, managing an innovation project, must want to change the world, or at minimum the world of his customers!
Entrepreneurship is not an exact science. It's a mix of talent, leadership, opportunism, business sense/business education/business know-how, financial resources, .... and some Luck!
- Talent is innate and cannot be learned!
- Leadership can be innate or can be learned in business schools, in books, blogs and websites, or from a Mentor.
- Business sense/business education/business know-how can be learned (= Rational analysis of the business opportunity: Strategy and Business Model, Marketing, Business planning ...).
- Opportunism and Luck may be provoked by developing a good "Life and Social Skills". Be curious and have thirst of knowledge! Share your passions and surround your life with people having a high curiosity and thirst of knowledge.
- Financial resources can be supplied by investors.
B) New Meanings and Knowledge
The innovation process is inseparable from the knowledge production. Indeed, innovation cannot be done without a base of knowledge (nothing has been created from the nothingness!), and when an innovation is produced, there is systematically new meanings and knowledge produced at the same time. Consequently, organizations should consider knowledge as “capital”. This immaterial capital is deeply neglected in most organization, due to ignorance its value or due to the pressure of rapid financial return.
Identifying very carefully the knowledge produced during innovation process could have two benefits:
- The reinjection of the capital "knowledge" produced during the innovation process to the next innovation process is absolutely necessary to ensure the sustainability of future innovations. This is what should do the knowledge management. The knowledge management should not just be the use of a "software" or a suggestion/idea box! Do you deal with the cash of your company with a box? No of course, therefore respect your knowledge as gold!
- If the company makes the effort to share its new base of knowledge with its users/consumers, then its invention is much more likely to be accepted, and thus become an innovation. This is what should do the community management. The community manager should not just share fun things or news about the company in the Facebook page or in the Twitter account. He/she should be a talented teacher having the mission to educate users, customers.
Finally, what characterizes the failure of an invention to become an innovation is to assume that the company has failed to share its knowledge base and to educate its audience (specially early-adopters and lead-users).
Therefore, (Invention + Entrepreneurship) cannot be equal to Innovation, but rather to New meanings/New Knowledge that the entrepreneur share with his community.
Finally, we have:
a) Invention + Entrepreneurship = New-knowledge
b) New-knowledge + Community = Innovation
Invention + Entrepreneurship + New-kowledge + Community = Innovation + New-knowledge
Invention + Entrepreneurship + Community = Innovation + New-knowledge - New-kowledge
Invention + Entrepreneurship + Community = Innovation
The term Knowledge is not anymore visible in the final equation due to the arithmetic rules, but it is still present and very important! It is the key of the success of the innovation process.
Another important point, the formula indicates that without an existing community, your invention cannot become an innovation. Therefore, the CEO of a startup company has to create a community of early users/believers/fans or infiltrate an existing community. CEOs of startups must understand that this is fully part of their mission, it's what Guy Kawasaki, former Apple Marketing Guru, calls Evangelism.
Community, believers, evangelism, evangelist, guru ... these terms come from the vocabulary of religions and cults ... because innovation is exactly the same process than creating a new religion or cult !
In conclusion, yes I lied in the title of this article: "The Magic Mathematic Formula of Innovation" ! There is no magic and no mathematic formula, but rather a cooking recipe and a sort of road map! And what makes the success of a cooking recipe is the dosage and quality of ingredients, sharing passion and of course the experience of the chef!
So, try and don't fear about failure!
I discover that the above article posted in my now abandonned blog in 2012 (link) was widely cited in an article published in 2018 in the Singaporean Journal of Business Economics and Management Studies (SJBEMS)!
Thanks to Dr K. Chopra who found my blog post relevant for his Academic article, I'm honoured!
E² - Épistémê Entrepreneur