How did Edison innovate and what can we, as artists, learn from his best practices?
Sarah Miller Caldicott, the great grandniece of Thomas Edison, in this past year has written a wonderful book titled Innovate like Edison, that can teach us his most important principles of innovation.
EDISONâ€™S FIVE COMPETENCIES OF INNOVATION
The term â€œcore competenceâ€ was coined in 1995 by global business strategist Gary Hamel. A competence refers to a bundle of skills and technologies which, when mastered, yields competitive advantage. â€œInnovation competenceâ€ is a variation on Hamelâ€™s term, describing the bundle of skills Edison used to generate competitive advantage through his innovation system.
Edisonâ€™s Five Competencies of Innovationâ„¢ propelled him to a record 1,093 U.S. patents as well as 1,293 international patents. Edisonâ€™s approach to innovation not only encompassed the development and launch of extraordinary products and services, it encompassed deep mental preparations as well. The Five Competencies of Innovation are:
#1 A Solution-centered Mindset
* Align your goals with passions to drive better short- and long-term results.
* Visualize outcomes in a positive frame, then cognitively imprinting them for lasting results.
* Develop a thirst for learning.
* Create systems for developing inexpensive, fast-turnaround experiments that keep you close to the market and close to your customers.
* View results with neutrality rather than an agenda, driving deeper, bigger insights.
#2 Develop Kaleidoscopic Thinking
*Maintain a notebook of insights, creating uncensored flows of high-level thinking more frequently, and in more contexts.
*Go beyond â€œbrainstormingâ€ to analogical thinking, fantastical thinking, and visual metaphors, driving whole-brain approaches to problem solving.
*See patterns that link unrelated subjects, creating deeper, more powerful insights.
*Map ideas visually, facilitating communication across organizational boundaries and skill levels.
*Build comfort with contrarian thinking, allowing you to develop breakthrough practices with a new lens.
#3 Full-spectrum Engagement
*Create situations in which you can engage in constructive, playful activity.
*Determine guidelines for what kinds of information are considered proprietary, and what kinds can be shared.
*Learn to â€œzoom upâ€ to see the big picture and â€œzoom downâ€ to see the small picture â€“ with equal ease.
*Develop strategies to deal with complexity.
*Consciously build an environment that allows for â€“ and includes â€“ creative solitude.
#4 Master-mind Collaboration
*Create small teams with deep chemistry.
*Design teams with individuals representing diverse thinking and learning styles.
*Build an environment where innovation can thrive.
*Reward collaboration and innovation in meaningful ways, including monetary and non-monetary incentives.
*Match innovation objectives with team objectives.
*Step out of the ivory tower to network with others.
#5 Super-value Creation
*Identify trends and market gaps crucial to driving breakthrough customer value platforms.
*Amplify your companyâ€™s ability to offer super-value to new and existing customers by finding competitive â€œwhite space.â€
*Detect nuances in consumer needs through ethnographic research.
*Apply the right business model when market conditions change, or when new initiatives take you in a new direction.
*Apply the right business model when market conditions change, or when competitive initiatives force you to take a new direction.
*Strengthen your existing competencies, or developing new competencies as needed.
*Create powerful customer experiences that generate market-moving momentum for your brand.
To learn more about Sarah or her book Innovate like Edison go to her website Power Patterns.