There’s a few people you never forget after you’ve seen them give a presentation. At the top of this list is probably the self-described “professional loud-mouth” Tom Peters.
His physical presentation (the old and wise man, grey haired, suit wearing business exec.) is in sharp contrast with his passionate, creative and provocative presentations and arguments. This controversy rapidly wrote the story of ‘the brand Tom Peters’ and created a loyal fan base, amongst which many other Big Thinkers in the marketing and innovation industry.
Now one of the all-time guru’s of ‘new business’ Tom Peters uses his distinctive, trademark flashing powerpoint slides and a seemingly never calming anger (passion) about the (big) mistakes and opportunities in modern business to convert multi-million dollar corporations and decisionmakers to the path of innovation, creativity and diversity.
Reason enough to take a closer look at Tom’s perspective on innovation.
Fortunately Tom Peters sees ‘hoarding’ information as one of the cardinal sins in business, and shares his experience and insights generously through his website (only building the brand even further). Out of many gems of information I distilled 10 of my favorite insights and quotes on innovation.
Innovation Tactic #1: Trying
“Darwin rules. More stuff goin’ on, more interesting-good stuff happenin’. Innovation is to a large extent a “numbers game”: He-she who tries the most stuff wins. (Astonishingly true.)”
Innovation Tactic #2: Prototyping
“Prototyping skills-attitude are more central than almost anyone can imagine. Entire organization as “playpen” with “playmates” gathering spontaneously to try stuff. Quickly. Quickly. “
Innovation Tactic #3: The stuff of legends
“Tries and screw-ups and sagas of bold champions become the “stories” that animate the organization—and induce everyone to climb aboard, play with vigor, or lose out.”
Innovation Tactic #4: Design
“Design, writ large, is increasingly the route to product or service differentiation. Many companies are now beyond lip service, but a long way from fully incorporating design and experience creation into the heart of the company culture. One effective approach is a center of excellence with the avowed goal of nothing less than becoming a “hotbed” of global excellence—for example, Samsung followed this path and is giving Sony a run for its money.”
Innovation Tactic #5: The Dreamers with Deadlines
“Warren Bennis called hot groups of innovators “dreamers with deadlines.” Innovation is not pie-in-the-sky, “let’s all have a blast, yo my man, cool, eh?” in nature. There is a compelling and disciplined “execution” thread that is central to the innovating organization. The innovating organization is focused on “new stuff,” “cool stuff”—but is pragmatic to a fault. The project “budget and milestones guru” is as honored as the true believer-dreamer-champion. “
Innovation Tactic #6: Accountability
“There is as much accountability around screwing up as there is around inventory management in a traditional outfit; that is, the innovator takes responsibility for the screw-up and for insuring rapid learning and dissemination of lessons learned and for mounting the follow-up experiment posthaste.”
Innovation Tactic #7: Lunch
“Never waste a lunch!!!! Lunch is 5 opportunities per week, 220 opportunities per year to get to know interesting outsiders, folks from other functions, customers, vendors, frontline staffers. This is remarkably important. “Lunch management,” a “lunch culture” is not an amusing aside. “
Innovation Tactic #8: Diversity
“Diversity with a lower-case “d.” Black, white, brown, purple … tall, short … North American, Asian … public school, private school, no school … etc … etc. (Etc.) Decisionmaking of every sort is far, far better with diverse views of any flavor. Period. I have come to view this is as a gamechanger—for a 6-person project team, a 20-person company, a huge enterprise. “
Innovation Tactic #9: What do you think?
““What do you think?” Innovation-an innovation culture engages one and all. (All = All.) Getting everyone to think about improvements small and large comes from, de facto, constantly asking “What do you think?”—perhaps the 4 most important words in the innovator’s vocabulary. Treating every voice as valued yields more value from every voice.“
Innovation Tactic #10: Celebrate
“Celebrate! Innovative organizations are places where people enjoy their peers’ work, good tries, good screw-ups, milestones reached, etc. Celebrating these events, large and small and very small, is a fullscale part of the “innovation culture.” “
You can find the other 111 insights on innovation in the ’ Tom Peters: Innovation Tactics 121‘.