Innovation tools, innovation culture

Hammer
Hammer

Wouldn't it be great if we could just pick up some innovation tools and, hey presto, be innovative?  You can see the temptation of acting as if that's the way it works:

"What do we do about this problem in our current business model?"

"How about we get the innovation tool kit out?"

"Brilliant. Sorted."

Shame it doesn't work that way.  That doesn't mean that the temptations are going to go away - if you can sell a toolkit and you have punters, why wouldn't you?  Perhaps the big deal is making sure you resist the temptation, put the wax in the ears to deafen ourselves to the siren call.

That's not to say that toolkits are bad, they're not.  We all need tools and the better they are, the better that is for us.  Get with Heidegger and think hammer - how else would you get the nail in the wall?

That's why we're really happy to see this article (and some of the comments) in the Harvard Business Review.  When you need to innovate, why not look to find the right tools to get the nail in the wall?

The problem is that you need to be able to use the tools.  And these tools aren't as intuitive to use as hammers.  Just because you bought the toolkit doesn't mean you can use them.  You aren't a carpenter the moment you buy a hammer.

So capability in innovation really does come down, as the authors point out in their first paragraph, to having the right culture and mindset.  You don't magically have that, and you don't magically get it on purchase of your innovation toolkit.  You learn it, build it, inculcate it.  That process may be long or short.  It might involve using this toolkit or that or none at all.  However, there's no short-cut to the culture of innovation - work on yourself, your team, your organisation.