The Idea Driven Blog

Top-down Innovation is Orderly but Dumb thumbnail

One of my favorite sayings about innovation comes from Curtis Carlson, CEO of SRI International, “Top-down innovation is orderly but dumb, bottom-up innovation is chaotic but smart.” His observation is now informally known as “Carlson’s Law.” As readers of this blog already know, the same is also true of improvement, but for today, I would like to focus on innovation. The best evidence I am aware of for  »  Read More

The Critical Role of the Supervisor/Employee Relationship thumbnail

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with Mark Dolsen, the president of TRQSS. TRQSS is a Windsor, Ontario-based tier one supplier to Toyota and other car makers. The company is a division of Tokia Rika out of Japan, and makes seat-belt assemblies and various automobile switches. Over the past few years, Mark has led an ambitious program to consolidate work being done in several separate  »  Read More

Using Idea Activators to Help Your People Come Up With More Ideas thumbnail

When an organization starts a high-performing idea system, rarely is there a shortage of ideas. Ideas come from problems, and people are already aware of many obvious problems and opportunities. They just haven’t had the chance to correct them before. But after a while – six months, nine months, a year, depending on the circumstances – no matter how much they encourage their people, the most common concern we  »  Read More

Begin with a Plan to Learn

Begin with a Plan to Learn thumbnail

There is no one best way to start up a high performance idea system, but when comparing those that thrive with those that struggle an important distinction emerges. The initiatives that flourish and grow are in organizations that approached the process with an eye toward learning. There is a lot to know about how to manage ideas, much of which runs counter to the way most of us have learned to manage. The story of  »  Read More

Why Humility is a Prerequisite for Managers in Idea-Driven Organizations thumbnail

We recently asked the leaders of two idea-driven companies what was the most important characteristic they looked for when hiring or promoting managers. Their surprising answer: Humility. Inditex, best known for its Zara brand of “fast-fashion” stores, is headquartered in A Coruna, Spain, and is the world’s largest clothing company with over 6,000 stores in 70 countries. Zara’s business model is built around  »  Read More

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