How to Ruin your Innovation Process
I'm in training to earn my Black Belt in Innovation Engineering, and so I've been thinking a lot about the application of innovation in individual companies. It's clear that senior leadership can make or break an innovation culture, and often the sabotage is quite unintentional. Here are five ways that leaders crush innovation, courtesy of the Harvard Business Review blog:
Read the whole article at: the Harvard Business Review blog.
- Innovation is episodic. It will work better if there is a repeatable process, so that innovation is not over if a particular new idea doesn't work out.
- Resources are held hostage by incumbent businesses. You have to be willing to admit when a product line is starting to fade, and reallocate resources to the new products that will replace it.
- Trying to fit innovation into your existing structure. It's more effective to create new structures.
- Too little diversity of thought and isolation from customers' experience.
- Treating assumptions like knowledge. Test, experiment, question, fail, revise. Repeat. Nothing will be right the first time.
Professor Calls Tax Credit "Soviet Thinking"
Things are getting heated down in Pennsylvania where Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is asking lawmakers to approve a $1.7 billion tax credit to lure a new petrochemical plant to the western part of the state. This would be the largest tax credit ever for PA, and would benefit Shell Chemicals to the tune of $66 million per year for 25 years. Shell is planning to develop natural gas derived from the Marcellus Shale deposits northwest of Pittsburgh. The plant is expected to create up to 10,000 construction jobs, and 500 permanent jobs. PA officials expect that the plant will lead to the growth of other companies in the region, much like SC and AL deals with automakers BMW and Hyundai, respectively, which have sparked entire clusters and supply chains.
Professor David Brunori of George Washington University described the idea as "Soviet thinking." His opinion, as a professor of public policy and expert on state tax policy, is that the best tax systems have low rates, are broadly based, and treat all businesses equally. Similarly, Chris Edwards of the conservative Cato Institute argues that it's better to giver lower tax rates for all businesses in a state, rather than just for a single company or industry.
The Importance of Strong Universities to Regional Economic Development
Some Maine folks don't seem to appreciate the importance of strong university and nonprofit research institutions to local and regional economic development. There is ample evidence of this in the academic literature, including articles that I have written!
Here's another one. BIO, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, asked five distinguished researchers, Lori Pressman, David Roessner, Jennifer Bond, Sumiye Okubo and Mark Planting, to estimate the economic contribution of University/Nonprofit inventions in the US. Their study covered inventions from universities, nonprofits and hospitals in the US from 1996-2010, and estimated the economic contribution to the Gross Domestic Product in a range from $86 billion to $388 billion. This report can be read in its entirety at the BIO website.