Friday, December 11, 2009

Roger Martin - On Designing the Future

My astute friend from McKinsey, Samvit Kanoria forwards "What's Thwarting American Innovation? Too Much Science, Says Roger Martin", in Fast Company, see here.  The article highlights Mr. Martin's focus on creativity in innovation being a combination of science and design aspects of product or service development working together.

For the scientist, he states - "The future has no legitimacy for analytical thinkers."

Mr. Martin thrashes the large management consulting companies and lays the blame of innovation bottle neck on a corporate structure mired in research and analysis of the past - "But what they analyze is the past.  And if the future is not exactly like the past, or there are things happening that are hard to measure scientifically, they get ignored."

Mr. Martin is asked - "Are you saying that the regression analysis jockeys and Six Sigma black belts have got it all wrong?" and he states - "Well, yes."

Interestingly, my tenure at P&G was during the time Roger Martin was advising A.G. Lafley and I was a part of the substantial changes brought within P&G's approach to business.  See information on some my work related to Virtual Shopper here on my friend Franz Dill's blog, who also was one of the founders of the P&G Innovation Centers.

Though Mr. Martin speaks candidly, yet the change he suggests carries pain to the corporate as a whole and the machinery of suppliers supporting it.  Corporate innovation remains more perception than reality, with incremental results seen in their markets from licensing, buyouts, etc.  Breakthrough innovation remains the domain of the entrepreneur, one who can imagine a future unburdened by the past!

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