Innovation – The Third Engine

“Economists and business leaders across the political spectrum are slowly coming to an agreement: Innovation is the best—and maybe the only—way the U.S. can get out of its economic hole.” tells us Business Week In “Can America Invent Its Way Back?” . It then asserts that “innovation has fallen short of its promise in recent years”. We believe we know why. In our work with management teams on cultivating innovation culture we found that:

1. Innovation is a set of disciplines and practices that must be embraced from top to bottom across the organization.
2. Innovation requires a specific mindset and commitment of resources.
3. Innovation is the “Third Propulsion” of a great organization. It must be supported by the “First Propulsion” of the company which works to increase Efficiency, where the discipline is on “Don’t change what works well” and “let’s not reinvent the wheel.” It then must be supported by the “Second Propulsion” which drives Optimized Effectiveness, where the discipline is on “let’s discover the 10 percent improved effectiveness we can unleash and create”.

When these conditions are not present, innovation disappoints. When First and Second Propulsions are not harnessed in support of the Third Propulsion -– Innovation cannot be unleashed at full and falls short of its promise. First and Second Propulsions practices are critical to help us “Re-imagine who we are and what we do” and “develop new opportunities and ways of creating value.” Engaging all Three Propulsions and their enablement is the Template For Greatness and how America can invent its way back.

© Aviv Shahar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *