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Here’s the catch…

Here’s the catch…

Innovation seems a simple concept, but according to Mangrove Consulting’s Nick Pye, too many companies are getting it all wrong. Here’s how to ensure you capture the big ideas consistently.

July 1, 2010 3:55 by

I was fortunate to spend an afternoon fishing recently. The skipper liked to talk – and among the details he gave about lines, rods and nets, he was careful to stress that the most important thing was to plan your trip carefully.

A bit of planning before leaving shore could significantly increase the catch, he said. Back on dry land, and in the middle of conducting a benchmarking study into the ways in which large companies around the world approach innovation, I was struck by the similarities between his search for fish and our search for more and better innovation.

The essence of what the skipper, Yasser, had been explaining was that, in a profession where uncertainty and hope prevail, a degree of forward thinking and planning can make a difference.

This is particularly true when the economic waters are a little rough. In the current environment, clarity about what innovation is aiming to achieve is more important than ever. Many companies are choosing not to go out in the storm, but history suggests that, for those that do, there are potentially rich pickings (Microsoft, Apple and Google were all created in turbulent economic times).

In the past few years, many companies have approached innovation like someone who has decided to get into fishing by dashing out and buying a flashy boat and all the gear without first thinking about what kind of fish they are after and where they might find them.

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