Sunday, September 8, 2013

Big company response to innovation is like a human body's response to infection...says Dave Ulmer.

If you read about innovation, particularly for large companies, you have heard certain things before:

"Those things that make a company great are the very things that keep a company from being innovative."

"If you are not competing against yourself - being your very best competitor - someone else will be."

These are quotes from an interview with Dave Ulmer by Kelli Richards in July 2013.

It was worth a listen, similar to most other interviews, blogs posts and books on innovation. They are worth a read or a listen though because while they are repetitive, inevitably, I find that I am not putting into practice what I know I should.

What did strike me as a unique analogy was Dave's comparison of how the human body fights infections to how a large organization fights a disruptive innovative effort. It is catchy and it makes sense. Operations designed to scale and sustain what already exists are uncomfortable and often alarmed by the new, the unbelievable, the unproven.

I like this analogy and will remember to use it the next time I am giving a new product concept presentation. I look forward to reading more from Dave Ulmer as he has recently put out The Innovator's Extinction.

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