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MIT's Michael Schrage on why innovation isn't about ideas

Michael Schrage
"The most important thing to understand about innovation is that it's not about ideas. It's not about good ideas. In fact, good ideas are bad ... Ideas are the wrong unit of analysis to explore innovation. I believe what organizations should be looking at, and what individuals should be looking at is, what are the hypotheses we want to test? There's a difference between an idea, a suggestion, and a testable hypothesis."

Michael Schrage put it bluntly in our recent interview with him.

Michael is a top thought leader on innovation. He is a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business, and has pioneered techniques for using rapid prototyping, simulations, and modeling to improve return on innovation investment.

You might have seen his regularly contributed articles in Fortune, CIO Magazine, and MIT’s Technology Review. Michael has also written two critically acclaimed books, "Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate" and "Shared Minds -- The New Technologies of Collaboration." His forthcoming book is "Getting Beyond Ideas: The Future of Rapid Innovation."

In our interview with Michael, he made it very clear that companies that are not prepared to innovate will go away. Sound scary? Then make sure you tune into our podcast to learn more of Michael's insight, and hear his advice for ensuring companies innovate to bring value to their customers.



You'll hear Michael talk about:
  • What Warren Buffett taught him about innovation
  • Where actionable innovation comes from
  • Real-world examples of how the hypothesis testing model has worked in the enterprise, including at Amazon.com
  • Biggest barriers to fostering innovation, including culture and organizational slowness
  • Recommendations for developing good hypotheses
  • Why "innovation is a means to an end"
  • What impact social technology is having on innovation
  • Why the next 10 years will see a surge in innovation and inventiveness
Be sure to tune in. Or, download the podcast to you computer so you can listen to it offline or on your MP3 player. To download it, right click the podcast link, and select "save link." You can also get a copy of the full transcript.

Thanks again, Michael, for taking our interview.

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