October 06, 2010
Create an Innovation Portfolio

One of the biggest obstacles to innovation in most organizations is the addiction to short-term results.

Hustling, speed, and fire fighting rule the day -- resulting in the kind of over-caffeinated efforts that make everyone cranky.

Focusing on your next quarter, of course, is a necessary part of business. But not to the exclusion of the long-term.

Someone's got to focus on projects that won't see the light of day for tree years... or five .... or ten.

If you are serious about innovation, you will need to develop an Innovation Portfolio, one that includes short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals.

Innovation doesn't happen quickly. It takes time.

If you plant an apple seed today, you're not going to get an apple harvest tomorrow... or next week... or next year. Pulling on the seedling or yelling at the tree to deliver apples faster isn't going to work.

Here's an exercise to create your Innovation Portfolio:

1. Define "short-term," "mid-term," and "long-term."
2. Make three columns, headed by each of the phrases above
3. Jot down projects that fit into these three "time horizons."
4. Present this list to your team and get their feedback.
5. Tweak the list as needed.

And now for a related joke...

So there are these three yogis meditating in a cave. They've been there ten years -- in silence the entire time.

One day, in the tenth year of their retreat, an albino mountain lion makes his way to the mouth of the cave and lets out an earth-shattering roar.

Five years pass.

The first yogi says "WOW!"

Another five years pass.

The second yogi, says, "Yeah, I know what you mean."

Five more years pass.

"HEY! If you guys don't shut up," says the third yogi, "I'm moving to another cave."



Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at October 6, 2010 09:37 AM

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