Successful innovation results when entrepreneurs manage their own shortcomings,  find a  problem they care about, and approach it from different angles with small safe-to-fail experiments.

Dave Snowden on Culture and Innovation

Dave Snowden has a thought provoking post on Culture and Innovation where he identified three  necessary, but not sufficient conditions for innovation to take place:

  1. Starvation of familiar resource, forcing you to find new approaches, doing things in a different way;
  2. Pressure that forces you to engage in the problem;
  3. Perspective Shift to allow different patterns and ideas to be brought into play.

Snowden also observes:

Creativity is just one way, and not necessarily the most effective to achieve perspective shift. In fact I am increasingly of the opinion that creativity is not a cause of innovation, but a property of innovation processes, its something that you can use as evidence of innovation, but not to create it.

What Innovation Requires of Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs

  • Successful entrepreneurship is an ongoing self-improvement project, it’s frequently painful as you force yourself to confront your own shortcomings  and leave your comfort zone to try new things (which often don’t work the first time).
  • Find a customer problem that you care about solving and put the pressure on yourself.
  • Don’t assume you can plan your way around failure. Run small experiments with small budgets that  simulate a starvation of resources.
  • Try and “walk around problems” and look at them from different angles.

Some Related Articles and Books on Innovation