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The lessons from active innovators

Active Innovator
Exploring like an Active Innovator (pic from Pixabay)

This is a follow up on my post on active and passive innovation. There were plenty of queries on active innovation and hence this follow up post

The key difference between the passive and active innovators is that unlike passive innovators, active innovators have goals that are higher than the growth trajectory of the existing business

As a consequence they are able to clearly articulate the need for innovation to the organization, engage and mobilize efforts to seek the opportunity.

The best organizations are observed to engage in open innovation; they engage with employees, customers, universities and partners to generate ideas. Further, they are cognizant that ideas don’t pop up just in creativity sessions; they set up digital platforms for contributors to log in ideas whenever they get them.

By not cloaking innovation / ideation in secrecy, they also allow for feedback and collaboration around ideas; participants see ideas, discuss about them and refine ideas. This enables them to converge individual thoughts to cluster of great ideas.

When it comes to selection of ideas, active innovators lean heavily on hypothesis based testing and analysis of data generated by such testing. No idea is eliminated without verifying the underlying thinking process. Such an experimentation approach generates a lot of organization knowledge besides coming up with concepts for development. Great organizations realize that a systematic approach to idea generation and experimentation is one of the best methods to generate portfolio of innovation ideas.

Active innovators evaluate the knowledge created by experimentation systematically. They create a portfolio that focus on short term, medium term and long term needs. Some ideas and concepts turn out to be short term winners that benefit immediate profitability and growth targets.

Some of the portfolio ideas test the proof of concepts and provide insights on to drivers of future growth on which fast go to market efforts can be built on. Further more some ideas tend to demand longer term development efforts that will result in 10X future growth.

Ofcourse, the approach makes it possible for these organizations to drive these ideas as growth initiatives rather than examine how it fits the existing business.

In summary, active innovators

  1. Realize they have growth gaps that necessitates innovation efforts

  2. They are able to effectively communicate priorities and strategic innovation direction to the organization

  3. They engage in open innovation around the strategic direction and encourage collaboration among contributors

  4. They promote experimentation and select ideas based on hypothesis based testing and data generated by experimentation

  5. They create a portfolio of ideas and concepts that focuses on today’s, tomorrow’s and future needs

  6. They direct execution focused on generating new growth

Do reach out to me for understanding how you can become an active innovator.

Krishnan Naganathan

Krishnan is a leading innovation consultant and focuses on helping people and organizations innovate and build capabilities for innovation. He brings over 25 years of experience in the industry and consulting.

You can reach him by phone / WhatsApp: +919791033967 or


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