Cook’s Recipe for Corporate Innovation


Scott Cook of Intuit recently spoke at CHI 2006 on Corporate Innovation:
Here's his recipe – the five models of innovation:

  1. The lone genius
  2. The boss is a genius
  3. Copy competitors' inventions
  4. Cloister the geniuses in a lab
  5. Make your people the geniuses

Nope, 1 – 4 aren't from – they are real life approaches used by many firms. Mr. Cook believes that only No. 5 works in the long term.

"The source of invention is unlikely to be the big executive: innovation comes from where the business connects to customers. It scales, because it allows the company to create many "contact" groups between the company and the customers."

In many firms, the only "contact" group is the sales force, which is usually far removed, if not totally disconnected from the innovation process. Sales people are supposed to sell and "execute", not "think". McDonald's – one of the big success stories of the 20th century – was created by a 60 year old milkshake machine salesman. How much innovation potential lies undiscovered in your sales force? Start harvesting those ideas now!

Thanks to Antonella Pavese for writing about Scott Cook's speech and for the cool collection of stories about innovation.

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