The evergreen rediscovery of strategy is also happening to innovation

The evergreen rediscovery of strategy is also happening to innovation

14 September, 2023 2 min read
strategy, innovation, product development, organizational memory

“Somehow, every generation […], even within the same organization has to relearn how to do strategy… and the same thing is happening with innovation…”Bruno Pešec

It’s true. And all that fervent debate about waterfall vs. phase-gate vs. agile vs. whatever… whom does it serve? Probably not you, but those who peddle those ideas as neatly-packaged solutions to the scourge of lacking organizational memory.

Every few years, something new comes up that claims to be the way of doing X; “X” being whatever key activity an organization wants to engage in.

And yet, no matter the approach you take in product development and attempting to innovate, you still need to address evergreen fundamental questions, such as:

  • Who is the customer, and what are they trying to get done, that you could help do in a better way?
  • What does “better” mean in that context?
  • Why you? Why now? Why not already?
  • In which way will you achieve a sufficient degree of “better”?
  • What kind of value will you create in the eyes of the buyers, the users and the beneficiaries?
  • What do you need to know now, what can you defer knowing until later, what are you OK with never really knowing (in the strict sense of the word “knowing”)?
  • If the solution you provide is alluring, is the business model around it also alluring?

And many others that those who have been there can help you ask (and maybe answer).

Surely, answering / refining such questions sufficiently to de-risk the endeavor to an ALARP degree is more impactful on your business than endless debates of “this is Scrum”, “no, this isn’t Scrum”, “but Lean says…”, “but the Agile Manifesto claims…”, “let’s do kindergarten exercises with Lego figures and blocks…” and all that.

Don’t confuse the actual work with the tools.

And if you are going to develop/adapt a new way of doing things within an already-successful organization, better talk to those who have been there for decades to understand the context to which the “new” way will have to be adapted.

Original LinkedIn post