November 30, 2010

The Five Keys to Innovation

This is an oldie-but-goodie. While looking through some of the articles I have saved, I came across this paper written by professors from Harvard Business School, Insead and Brigham Young University.

Based on their six-year study, they identified five key characteristics that drive innovation:

Associating: The ability to connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems or ideas from different fields.

Questioning:
Innovators constantly ask questions that challenge the common wisdom. They ask "why?", "why not?" and "what if?"

Observing:
Discovery-driven executives scrutinize common phenomena, particularly the behavior of potential customers.

Experimenting:
Innovative entrepreneurs actively try out new ideas by creating prototypes and launching pilots.

Networking:
innovators go out of their way to meet people with different ideas and perspectives.

The Innovator's DNA is available in more detail on HBR and CNN