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Innovation Metrics and Discipline

I've been reading through the recent Business Week issue on innovation, and most of it's a rehash, but they do have an excellent perspective on Doblin co-founder Larry Keeley. Doblin is a Chicago-based innovation consulting firm that focuses on large companies, and you can see some of their tools in action in this slide show at BusinessWeek Online.

BusinessWeek Online: Mr. Metrics: Larry Keeley.

He tells companies that, first of all, they need to discover and understand their own "innovation DNA" -- that is, what they do best -- before they can move on to building systems that improve their innovation "hit rates." He tells companies that the really big hits are often the products that innovate in not one but two or three or more "innovation spaces."

Further, Keeley tells them to focus their brainstorming. "The worst mistake is to have everyone running off generating a million ideas," says Keeley. "The goal is to focus on a very few very bold ideas that tend to work, as opposed to many, many ideas all over the place that tend to fail."