Pontus M. A. Siren

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When Innovators Fail

When Innovators Fail: Frustration, Wishful Thinking, and the Building of an Innovation Engine: If an athletic department at a large university made a decision to develop a world class rowing program, but the university administrators banned all water sports as too risky, we could hardly expect much in terms of rowing greatness. However, all too often

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Where Zombie Projects Come From

I was recently in a meeting with an innovation manager at a large company who told me about all the projects he was overseeing. When I asked who was actually working on these efforts, he mentioned there were some part-time internal people and some external contractors. I told him politely that it was highly unlikely

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How to Create Happier Outcomes for New Ventures

The workshop at a large global consumer products company ended in an unfortunate place. After an engaged discussion and the review of the first three years of a product launch, the group concluded that an entire product line should be shut down. What mattered, though, wasn’t the outcome so much as its meaning. Someone mentioned…

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How Ford, Pixar and Alcoa Innovate with Brutal Honesty

In this “subscriber Q&A” column published at Innovation Leader, Innosight partner Pontus Siren discusses best practices around candor can overcome that tendency. Question: Why is it so necessary to bring more candor and honesty into my innovation program, and how do I go about doing it?

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Innovation Isn’t the Answer to All Your Problems

What should leaders do to boost their organization’s ability to innovate? There’s a seemingly endless list of options to consider. Set up a new-growth group. Launch an idea contest. Change the reward systems. Run an action-learning program to develop the top leadership team’s ability to confront ambiguity. Form a venture investment fund….

When Disruption is Not an Option

Corporate leaders generally view the emergence of disruptive technologies with dread. After all, disruption has led to the downfall of many a great company ranging from Kodak to Nokia, and even the most sophisticated companies struggle to respond to disruption. For those that have survived industry disruption, such as IBM and Intel, the experience has

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Zombie Projects: How to Find Them and Kill Them

“You will never find them,” said a senior leader in a multibillion-dollar IT company. The “them” the leader was referring to were zombie projects: the nefarious enemies of well-intentioned innovation efforts around the globe.

Assessment: Should We Pursue This New Project?

Like aviators, experienced innovators use checklists. It’s how they make sure they haven’t left out any critical steps when assessing new ideas. This approach, described in our recent HBR article, also helps company strategists and innovation leaders evaluate investments and advise new-growth teams in a disciplined way.