Thursday, February 7, 2008

Totaly stupid or totaly innovative?

We live in the world of rapid changes. Each changes force us to innovate our life our organization and, finally, our own mind. More and more people start to talk about innovation: innovate product, innovate organizational structure, innovate business model, innovate educational system etc…
However, Innovation is not so easy way to survive in the world of rapid changes. There are lots of myths on innovation and stereotypes. In the middle of 1980s the author of TRIZ Genrich Altshuller and his pupil Igor Vertkin carried out very interesting research on the history of innovation. They study biographies of approximately 1000 people who have changed the world.
 As a result they discover interesting trend about level of innovation. The higher level of innovation and changes the higher resistance of our society to those changes of the world.
Experience of my TRIZ and OTSM colleagues show that even perfect solution often faced with strong resistance inside the organization even this innovative solution could dramatically improve business position of the company Just one short example. This story happened several years ago. Company invites one of my TRIZ colleagues and to a certain project as a coach. Team of professionals was very cooperative and this is very important component of our work with companies and organizations. The better cooperation between OTSM-TRIZ and professionals the better result the team will obtain. During working session professional often say that the TRIZ proposals will not work. Often the same argument arise: “… nobody did this before…”. This is normal and typical professional’s reaction and we have also typical solution and technique to overcome this reaction and continuer work normally. According OTSM-TRIZ approaches we do not look for solution but develop it step by step instead. This is also one of mechanism to suppress mental inertia and achieve perfectly innovative conceptual solutions. Eventually mutual understanding appear between TRIZ professionals and experts of the company involved in the project. The story was quite typical at that time as well. And very interesting and unusual solutions were developed and accepted the company’s professionals. Is it happy end story?

Not at all! The point is that the decision maker did not participate those sessions and still was in the vicious circle of mental inertia and stereotypes. He did not accept the solution and refuse the rest of payment. His remark on the proposal: “Totally stupid… Nobody did this before.."

Bad luck?… Not at all! This is on of most typical reaction of many decision makers when they faced with very profitable but unusual ideas… The same stories has happened many hundreds year ago as well… but not as often as now, when instruments of Classical TRIZ and OTSM became more and more popular.

We live in the world of rapid changes. In half of year the same decision maker call to my colleagues and apologized. He also give a check with the rest of payment. What happen? The point is that their competitors implement almost the same solution and new product appears on the market. Similar stories start to appear more and more often. More and more my TRIZ colleagues tell me the same story.

May be next time I will tell you some of my private stories of this kind. But at this time just one conclusion: it is not enough to develop perfectly innovative idea. Doesn’t matter how this innovation appear: with or without TRIZ and OTSM. If corporate culture is not oriented to Sustainable Innovation even perfect solutions will not be implemented and perfect innovation appear in the trash box. Unfortunately mental inertia of Decision makers and their advisers is not the only enemy of perfect innovation and organization prosperity. What else we should overcome in order to make organization sustainably innovative? How instruments of Classical TRIZ and OTSM could help us? This is a subject of our blog and post-graduate program at INSA Strasbourg - Advanced Master of Innovative Design.


Shidov said...

I'm an italian student in Mechanical Engineering and very interested in Triz methodology and application.

I hope you'll continue this blog and mantain it fresh with news.

I will certain continue supporting it.

I totally agree with you!
It's really difficult to take advance from solutions that are too innovative...
The problem in this stage switch to a persuasion one. I found Pnl very useful in this stage of the proposal of innovative solutions. Do you know it?

Nikolai said...

Dear Shidov,
Thanks a lot for your support.
Sometimes even not so much but good solution are refused as well.
Because of personal interests of people contradict to an interest of their organization. We will talk about this also. And that is why we need special corporate culture to be introduced into organization to support Sustainable Innovation.

You wrote about Pnl. Do you mean NLP?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I mean NLP.. In Italy it's Pnl but it's the same! Like the other comment that I wrote for your last post, I'd like to emphasize the role of persuasion and its need in this kind of situations.

In the book: "Introduction to Nlp" Jerry Richardson gives many examples of situations and valuable ways to "help" others change filters to reality and become more open to the new solution.

It helps understand how we take decision and how to influence positively one near us with a win-win approach.

In these cases the problem switchs to a communication one and so these instruments have to come into play.