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10 Best Articles on Innovation from HBR

On HBR, you get a precious fifteen free articles every month if you’re a subscriber. Every month, I carefully curate a list of HBR articles that I want to read from their Twitter feed (generally a great way to identify their best materials) and I pick fifteen articles I want to read for the month. Then I open all of them in one window and pray that I won’t have to close my browser for the rest of the month.

Here is the best way to use up ten of those fifteen free articles with the latest and greatest on innovation:

    • Collective Genius Bill Coughran, VP of Engineering for Google from 2003 to 2011, explains what it takes to build an organization that’s capable of continually innovating fresh and strategic ideas on a regular basis. He defines it as building a community of innovation, one which encourages individuals to harness and then unleash their “slice of genius”.
    • Blue Ocean Strategy Cirque de Soleil creators capitalize on the “blue ocean strategy” by expanding the boundaries of the circus industry and recreating expectations while revolutionizing performance. These brilliant entrepreneurs have been able to negate risk and scale a steadily increasing flow of demand through this often misunderstood business strategy.
    • To Make Money with Digital, Be an Innovator – Not a Strategist Two professors from BYU’s Marriot School of Management point out the three “traps” that strategists frequently fall into and explain why having a more avant-garde approach can help manage the increasing uncertainty of today’s digital world.
    • Calculate How Much Your Company Should Invest in Innovation While often thought to be common sense, the authors address the pitfalls and obstacles that almost every organization faces when it comes to calculating their “innovation” budget and introduce a new insightful equation for financially backing invention and growth.
    • The Capitalist’s Dilemma 150 students and alumni of the Harvard Business School go behind the scenes and dissect what it is that’s preventing large profitable companies from investing in ideas since the 2008 recession that could foster the nationwide growth. The authors then present four solutions that could help these organizations conquer what they call the “capitalist’s dilemma.”
    • Don’t Offer Employees Big Rewards for Innovation Harvard Business Review tackles the reasons behind why high powered rewards are no greater of an incentive than lower rewards when it comes to game changing innovations. The authors then offer a remedy to receiving far too few—or far too many—ideas.
    • Build an Innovation Engine in Ninety Days The authors of this article offer a four-tiered approach to building a thriving and momentum gathering innovation engine beginning with defining innovation buckets to creating a mechanism to ensure the completion of projects. The article then ventures into the next steps your organization can take to get to the next level.
    • The Discipline of Innovation HBR revisits the wisdom of renowned business guru Peter Drucker who argues that the best innovative business ideas are most likely to come about when seven distinct areas of opportunity are analyzed and exploited in a timely fashion. Drucker concludes that while talent, ingenuity, and knowledge are key elements to innovation, if persistence, diligence, and commitment are nowhere to be seen, then any innovation efforts will fail.
    • The Innovator’s DNA HBR shares their findings of a six-year study which observed the habits of twenty-five innovative entrepreneurs, three thousand executives, and five hundred individuals who have invented new products or started groundbreaking companies of their own. The results? You may be left asking yourself “why.”
    • Don’t Ask for New Ideas If You’re Not Ready to Act on Them For some organizations, ideation and innovation are a problem. For others, asking for new, fresh ideas can generate an overwhelming response—one which is so overwhelming it takes the organization too long to act on any of them. The author outlines three key lessons that can be learned from asking for too many ideas too soon, and how companies can best manage the ideation and innovation process.

That’s it for our list for now. What are your favourites from HBR?

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