How to Become More Innovative

How to Become More Innovative

The 4 DOs and DON’Ts

by Jenny Tyobeka


We know that we all have the propensity to innovate, although some of us are either too demotivated to activate our innovative selves, constrained by organisational barriers, or too ingrained in our ways of acting and seeing the world.  Whatever the constraints we face, there is a growing imperative for organisations to find new solutions to old problems and to create new products for emerging consumer demand. As consumer markets become more global, unpredictable and technologically disruptive, the need to innovate has become ever more pressing for differentiation and continued competitiveness.

Differentiation in the presence of intensifying consumer demand uncertainty is a tall order.  It is therefore encouraging to know that innovativeness can be learnt, and that it is possible to identify processes and behaviour that promote or constrain it.

Here are my 4 key DOs and DON’Ts to becoming more innovative:



1. Implement an iterative process of discovery to test and validate your assumptions about the consumer problem you are trying to solve; how big it is; and the appropriateness of your solution and business model for taking it to the market

1. Use the traditional, linear, milestone- based stage gate process of decision-making for new product development, where progress depends on achieving the previous milestone.

2. Employ a divergent approach by identifying and testing as many promising ideas as possible

2. Converge on a single promising idea and defend it tooth and nail with consumers, instead of listening intently to their feedback

3. Get into the market as soon as possible with the aim of validating your ideas rapidly as you go along, and iterating based on consumer feedback to reduce uncertainty and costs.

3. Try to manage uncertainty of consumer demand by aiming for desk-bound perfect planning & execution.

4. Aim to learn fast from consumer insights, and fail fast and cheaply by constantly iterating as you progress.

4.  Engage in unnecessarily lengthy internal decision-making, locking in ideas not validated by consumers, that may result in costly failure.

To learn and practice an implementable process for innovating in your business, refer to Professor Nathan Furr’s on-line programme, Innovation in the Age of Disruption  

View details.

Apply here     

Drawing on his own prolific research, numerous publications and interactions with Silicon Valley icons, Professor Furr has ‘nailed’ the innovation process in this programme, making it easy to master and implement, to effect change, in our present highly uncertain, digitised markets.