War games, contingency planning, thought experiments all provide potential glimpses into the future that can help distribute knowledge, test reactions and improve flexible thinking. I’m a fan. So it was with some interest I noticed Business Horizons’ recent issue on entrepreneurship included a paper that strongly argues scenario planning not only prepares a corporation for external disruptive events, but it can improve an organization’s overall entrepreneurial capacity. Scenario planning has long been used to prepare for emergency events. Since the 9/11 terror attacks corporate use of scenario and contingency planning increased from 38% to over 70% of executives surveyed, again primarily as a means of preparing for external disruptive (exogenous) shocks. In the article, Beyond risk mitigation: Enhancing corporate innovation with scenario planning, William J. Worthington, Jamie D. Collins and Michael A. Hitt, show that “advanced use of scenario planning can help firms go beyond innovative responses to more complex … Continue reading
Newsweek’s declaration that the recession is over and long lines at auto dealers seems to have upped feelings of angst in many circles. Reactions from ‘yeah sure’ to ‘How did I miss it’ to ‘yipee,’ indicate that maybe not everyone is on the same page. Which really shouldn’t be a surprise given folks disagree on the state of the economy when times are good or bad. So what do you do when you don’t know, can’t know? I wanted to pull together a few pieces of conversation both directly and indirectly related to the Uncertainty Paradox that struck a chord for me over the past week or so. A big issue when you’re stuck in a period of extreme uncertainty is how to take the next step forward. Kay Plantes in dealing with business model innovation brought up Tide’s experiment with Tide Basic, a product introduction with a reduced feature … Continue reading
Here is a Thursday Thought Experiment built around the question, “Who Needs Innovation Training?” This is about little ideas. Simple little ideas that can add up to big improvements in productivity. Little creative thoughts that flair-up only to be extinguished. When learning a new job, folks typically spend quite a bit of time in the HOW stage. (How do I get this done, Who do I talk to, What needs to happen…) They then move quickly through the WHY stage. (That short amount of time when what you have to do and what makes sense simply doesn’t match up.) And, if they last long enough, end up in the State-of-DO. (Easier to do than to question Why.) The more efficient your training the quicker employees end up in the State-of-DO. Organizationally this encourages a top-down pull innovation process instead of a bottom-up push innovation process.