I had a blast speaking at Adaptive Path’s MX conference recently about the Myths of Innovation book. I had the closing slot which can be tough, but the crowd was great and gave me a chance to have some fun (podcast of this talk is coming)
One highlight was being interviewed by Sarah Nelson, a design strategist for AP.
To give a taste, and stumble into the postmodern idiocy of quoting someone quoting me:
SN: One of the things I’ve been wondering about is the idea of “source of innovation” within a company. Do you think it’s actually possible to create an environment in which innovation occurs?
SB: I think that you can create an environment, and it’s very simple… whoever has power over a budget, and whoever has power over what features are included in a product or go up on the website, they enable innovation by saying “yes.” That’s really the fundamental thing that they have to be willing to do.
When someone shows up with an idea — “Hey, why don’t we change the navigation system from this older design to this new design I’ve been thinking of? Can I get some money to go and prototype this?”
All that has to happen is the person with power says, “Yes, I will give you a week to go and prototype that and we will review it when you have the prototype, and then we’ll consider actually making those changes.” And once everyone witnesses the person in power saying “yes” to a new idea, then they’ll be comfortable bringing another idea, or a third idea. And then all of a sudden, you have an environment that is very receptive to new ideas and innovations.
Sounds obvious, but as I explain in the book these environments are rare.