2016: The Year of The Hype

For my 2016 Innovation of the Year—celebrating that innovation which most changed the game—one stood clearly in front of all others. Largely because it also stood clearly behind so many of the others: hype. Like all past IOTY winners, hyperbole wasn’t invented in 2016 but this was the year it demonstrated its truly disruptive potential. Continue reading

On the Folly of Adopting A while Hoping for Apple

FastCompany released its annual “50 Most Innovative Companies” list, one of the more enjoyable of the dozens published every year. Pick up any one of these and three things become immediately apparent. First, there is no shortage of role models for innovation. Second, outside the crowd favorites (Apple, Google, and Facebook) there is little overlap between lists. Third and perhaps most importantly, each company and what makes them innovative ranges wildly. Continue reading

Cleantech entrepreneurs fighting the last war

Two articles give different views of the battlefield that is cleantech entrepreneurship these days: one from 1000’ and the other from the trenches. They offer a good lesson on the importance of having an innovation strategy informed by history more than hyperbole. Continue reading

A long view of disruption

The more dire the climate change predictions, the louder the calls for new and disruptive technologies. While it’s a great aspiration, as a theory disruptive innovation provides dangerous guidance on how disruption really happens. Continue reading

Career entrepreneurs

As I’ve mentioned before, people often think entrepreneurship is a one-idea, one-shot game: you have a great idea and you pursue it until it makes you rich or makes you run back home. That’s a shame because it keeps people from exploring entrepreneurship as a career. It’s like thinking only rock stars can have careers in music. In truth, most entrepreneurs take part in multiple startups before launching their own, and they play many different roles besides the rock star. Continue reading

Mark Suster’s 7 lessons from failing

Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Mark Suster provides a great example of the educational value inherent in making mistakes. And, since the only thing that comes close to learning from failure is learning from other people’s failures, this is a great interview where he shares the main mistakes he made in his first company. Continue reading

Innovation, Strategy, and your Innovation Strategy

What’s your innovation strategy?

The question often stumps executives, who tend to think innovation is something outside the normal work routines, not something that can and should be directed. Yet how much of your company’s strategic plan depends on innovation — on the development of new products, new processes, or (often) both — that will provide tomorrow’s competitive advantage? Continue reading

Flying blind over the valley of death

The valley of death is an hackneyed term used to describe where startups run out of money. This can be solved, early earlier-stage investors and policy-makers contend, by giving them more money. I’ve argued before this is misguided. The reason why is a cautionary tale to anyone leading a new venture.

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