Unrealistic Expectations of Innovation & Entrepreneurs

Mills Scofield

Venture Capital Strategy Startups Start-up Stage-gate Prototype Innovation Glengary Funding Experiment Entrepreneur Business PlanningHumans are one of the few mammals whose babies are not fully developed at birth. Unlike horses, whales, etc., human babies can’t stand, walk, or forage on their own at birth. They are totally dependent upon adult humans for constant, continual support just to live. We are used to this, we accept it, we don’t expect anything different.

What do Blue Lobsters Have to do With Innovation? Everything!

Mills Scofield

Because the key to innovation isn’t processes, stage gates, weird exercises, or competitions. Blue Lobster at the South Bristol Coop , 2004. What’s with blue lobsters? Well, a blue lobster is rare, about 1 in 2 million , and very beautiful. To me, a blue lobster is a person who views and organizes the world differently, who rejects the status quo, who loves to try stuff, learn, fail and try again, who is interesting because they are interested and who has impact.


Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

What do Blue Lobsters Have to do With Innovation? Everything!

Mills Scofield

Because the key to innovation isn’t processes, stage gates, weird exercises, or competitions. Blue Lobster at the South Bristol Coop , 2004. What’s with blue lobsters? Well, a blue lobster is rare, about 1 in 2 million , and very beautiful.

Organizational Transformation Requires Leadership at all Levels

Great Leadership By Dan

Leadership in actively and effectively engaging with key stakeholders and sustaining their buy-in ensures the expected business outcomes are realized at each phase or stage gate of the organizational transformation. Guest post from Satish P. Subramanian The Business Challenge The low success rate in organizational transformation and the organizational inability to positively move the dial on the success rate over the years is a strategic problem.

6 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Manage Their Ideas


Build a stage-gate process for ideas to be introduced and developed. Regulating the Idea Machine (Entrepreneur). Entrepreneurs are Idea Machines. They produce a terrific volume of ideas–some that are pure gold, some that aren’t. While generating ideas comes easily for entrepreneurs, discerning which ideas to implement and which to discard does not usually come as easily.

Big Data In Your Shampoo?

Mills Scofield

So, how would you prepare for a stage gate meeting that includes a "Go/No-Go" decision on continuing to develop a specific product? Either as a member of the product team or as the "gate keeper," you might make this decision based on a gut feeling, prior experience, a partial understanding of the ecosystem, OR, increasingly, based on Product Intelligence. Just as crucial is the methodology- asking the right questions from the outset that are relevant to the gate decision.

From idea to strategy

Lead on Purpose

In Bartz’s case, there is a queue of TPSE to work through before they stage gate the emerging ideas against strategy alignment.

Two Questions to Ask Before You Set Up an Innovation Unit

Harvard Business

following a traditional stage-gate process). Classen Rafael/EyeEm/Getty Images. Despite good intentions—and widespread acceptance of the importance of innovation—efforts to innovate at large companies often lack a clear mission and framework, and as a result, they go off the rails.

Putting Humans at the Center of Health Care Innovation

Harvard Business

Establish clear initial operational and performance metrics such as percent of innovation concepts expected to be implemented, number of clinicians and patients involved in co-creation processes, types of IP generated, and stage-gated timelines. The first-movers we describe here demonstrate the potential for human-centered design and, though it’s still early days, are setting the stage for how healthcare can redesign itself from within. Bogdan Dreava/EyeEm/Getty Images.

Match Your Innovation Process to the Results You Want

Harvard Business Review

It tends to be short-term, uses familiar (traditional) metrics and development systems like Stage Gate. Almost every company has a Stage Gate process because they work well for incremental innovation. We are often asked whether the best way to structure for innovation is top-down or bottom-up. The answer is both, but it depends. Bottom-up approaches work well for incremental (keeps you in the game) innovations.

Innovation's Nine Critical Success Factors

Harvard Business Review

Incremental innovation can be pushed down into the organization where the strategy is clear, decision metrics are understood, and management models like Stage-Gate create a level playing field. So Stage-Gate models can unintentionally kill potentially big ideas. Note: This post was written with Mark Sebell and Jay Terwilliger, managing partners at Creative Realities, Inc., a Boston-based innovation management collaborative.

Ready for Growth, But Not Prepared

Harvard Business Review

The companies did reasonably well on making decisions using a formal process and managing projects using a disciplined approach (such as the stage/gate methodology). Last year, I worked with Accenture on a study of its largest clients to learn what the leaders of these mega-corporations had on their minds amidst all of the uncertainty they face. The headline: After years of taking a back seat to survival skills, growth is back on the agenda in a big way.

Obama Won With Minorities. Marketers Should Too

Harvard Business Review

Be sure that your innovation process stage gate isn't a taste test amongst folks with merely a mainstream palate, but ones that reflect the appropriate variety in the market. With Florida's results now counted, the finally election tallies are nearly complete: According to the current estimate, President Obama beat Mitt Romney with a 3% margin in the popular vote and a 21% margin in the Electoral College. This electoral-to-popular vote ratio was the 4th highest since 1900.

A Disciplined Approach to Evaluating Ideas

Harvard Business Review

The general way around this problem seems simple enough — have a process by which you evaluate ideas in different ways at different stages of development (most call this a "stage-gate process."). "Make sure you ask the right questions at the right time." That's one memorable piece of advice from a leader at a global innovation powerhouse. Unfortunately, it is a piece of advice that is heeded too infrequently inside large companies.

What Big Companies Get Wrong About Innovation Metrics

Harvard Business Review

Stage-gate specific metrics, i.e. projects moving from one. stage to the next. Kenneth Andersson. The fear of getting Netflix-ed or Uber-ized is spurring big companies to dial up their investment in innovation. Companies as diverse as AIG, Disney, and Intuit have been building innovation teams, launching “accelerator” programs to attract promising startups, and giving employees seed funding to test out new ideas with real customers.

Can’t Find a Steve Jobs? Hire an Innovation Organizer Instead

Harvard Business Review

As an example consider stage-gates, decision points at which time new products are reviewed before moving forward in the development process. Improving innovation is one of the key competencies that companies often look for when replacing a CEO. Yet committees responsible for recommending candidates often grapple with finding the right person for the job when an innovation emperor like Steve Jobs isn’t available.

Exploit IT for Strategic Benefit

Harvard Business Review

One financial services company we know reviews the viability of the business case at every major stage gate. IT leaders have long embraced the idea that the role of the IT unit, and of enterprise IT systems, is to enable business. However, when we ask CIOs how their "enabling" is going, they consistently respond that sometimes it goes well; sometimes not so much.


Taming Your Company's Most Elusive Beast

Harvard Business Review

R&D investments have been made, stage/gate processes have been built, creativity training courses have been run, and yet the outputs — exciting new products and services — don't seem to be falling into place. Consider, for example, the UK software company, Red Gate. Management thinking is inherently faddish, but there are some favorite themes that never fall out of favor.

The 5 Requirements of a Truly Innovative Company

Harvard Business Review

Executives realized that to do this, they would need to reallocate some of the company’s innovation resources from late-stage product enhancements to early-stage product breakthroughs. Individually, each piece makes sense—the crowdsourced idea contest, the internal venture fund, the customer sentiment analysis, the stage-gate product development process—but the whole is less than the parts.