“Innovation, Not Love Makes the World Go Round”

The Economist special report on innovation: “Something new under the sun” quotes John Dryden of the OECD: “We firmly believe that innovation, not love, makes the world go round.” Dryden makes an important point but misses the bigger point. The bigger point is that the driver of innovation is love and passion. What drives innovation is the love of new ideas and new solutions. It’s the passion to create new opportunities, experiences and services, and the disciplined love to drive and execute these to establish a new reality.

The Economist further elaborates on the polarity of GE execution-focused approach to innovation, which emphasizes “operational excellence”, versus Google’s approach to innovation that emphasize free-ranging play by granting its engineers permission to spend 20% of their time on pet projects. GE’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, brings the “What matters gets measured” mindset to innovation, while Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, declares that trying to measure his firm’s innovation process would choke it off all together. It’s the science versus art argument that again misses the point, as most polarity debates do. The greater power and opportunity is in integrating art and science. The integration point of science and art, and of the execution-based and the free-range approaches to innovation is a disciplined love. Great scientists and engineers get up in the morning like great artists and authors – they cannot wait to get into the process they love so much – the process that takes them to the next step of discovery and realization, the process that gets results.

In our program, The Three Propulsions of Great Companies – A Template for Greatness, managers focus on their best practices and on ways to unleash innovation. Amber Network offers practices and disciplines that cover the whole range from focused execution to innovation, where these are not mutually exclusive but integrated into the passionate art and science of getting results. It’s time to stop the polarity argument and create a whole-person, whole-organization integral approach to innovation that gets results.

© Aviv Shahar

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