Innovation 'Doesn't Just Happen' - InformationWeek

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10/30/2014
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Innovation 'Doesn't Just Happen'

Fidelity Labs VP Hadley Stern on the steps companies can take to light the innovation fire.

What's the best way for companies to tease out innovative ideas and deliver innovative new products and services amid the stresses of day-to-day operations? Hadley Stern, VP of Fidelity Labs, an 80-person incubator for financial services company Fidelity Investments, maintains that "innovation doesn't just happen." It needs to be structured.

At Fidelity Labs, that structure usually takes the form of 10 or 15 "aspirational but achievable" themes, Stern says, which the company conceives in consultation with its internal technology and other business partners, with outside experts, and ultimately with customers. The execution part then comes under the Labs' agile development methodology.

Click on the video for Stern's views on how to structure innovation -- as well as his take on Apple Watch, Google Glass, and artificial intelligence -- all recorded at the recent InformationWeek IT Leadership Summit at Interop New York.

Rob Preston currently serves as VP and editor in chief of InformationWeek, where he oversees the editorial content and direction of its various website, digital magazine, Webcast, live and virtual event, and other products. Rob has 25 years of experience in high-tech ... View Full Bio

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shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 10:27:31 PM
Re: Innovation - Art or science?
@tzubair - I think innovation is not an art it's just a way of thinking creatively. Looking at the process differently or from a different perspective part of innovation. 
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 5:18:56 PM
Re: Innovation - Art or science?
"Innovation is a mix of both. Without an artistic brain, you cannot create something that will appeal to the masses, it may do the work perfectly well, but it just wouldn't fit."

@yalanand: Nobody can deny the importance of an artistica approach. However, I think most companies are forced to adopt a scientific approach at some point when they want to quantify the outcomes and measure the success. If you continue the artistic way, you can't really know where you stand and you're headed for.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 2:13:13 PM
Re: Innovation - Art or science?
"@Rob: What would be your take if you were asked if innovation is an art or a science? Historically, it has always been an art and some of the biggest innovators who've lived like Leonardo Da Vinci have been artists themselves. Yet, today we see companies having a very scientific approach towards it and the process of innovating seems to be very rigid and lack creativity."

Innovation is a mix of both. Without an artistic brain, you cannot create something that will appeal to the masses, it may do the work perfectly well, but it just wouldn't fit. For example: try working in an oval screen rather than a flat screen monitor, you'll see where it leads you.

Most companies use the scientific approach because mostly they hire someone to innovate on the products design and artistry values.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 2:09:34 PM
Re: Innovation Paths
"@SunitaT0, I was with you until #3.  I don't think you need to do a lot of investment in R&D to be innovative. I think that most of your innovation should be internal, not something you are marketing.  To support the other 3 points, yes people should be allowed to openly talk about ideas, you pick the ones that are within the realm of possibility and you get those moving forward no matter whose idea it was.  The last point can be looked at in a two fold manner, first are your internal processes making you competitive in the market if not start innovating there and are your products innovative in the market, that one is pretty obvious."

Innovation can also come in the form of smarter working in the workplace. This can be achieved by clever guidance/hacks/tricks from management telling employees to work smart. Smarter working leads to better time management and greater productivity.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 7:29:32 AM
Re: Innovation Paths
@SunitaT0, I was with you until #3.  I don't think you need to do a lot of investment in R&D to be innovative. I think that most of your innovation should be internal, not something you are marketing.  To support the other 3 points, yes people should be allowed to openly talk about ideas, you pick the ones that are within the realm of possibility and you get those moving forward no matter whose idea it was.  The last point can be looked at in a two fold manner, first are your internal processes making you competitive in the market if not start innovating there and are your products innovative in the market, that one is pretty obvious.
tzubair
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50%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2014 | 10:53:23 PM
Innovation - Art or science?
@Rob: What would be your take if you were asked if innovation is an art or a science? Historically, it has always been an art and some of the biggest innovators who've lived like Leonardo Da Vinci have been artists themselves. Yet, today we see companies having a very scientific approach towards it and the process of innovating seems to be very rigid and lack creativity.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2014 | 10:49:29 PM
Innovation Paths
Innovation is a big headache when it comes to management. For innovation to succeed there must be some steps to follow:

1. Ideas should flow

2. People from all working titles should throw in ideas and those ideas should be heard (this may sound impossible but a mutual understanding between management and technical department can be developed)

3. More investment in R&D

4. Keeping in a state of constant competition with other companies.
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