“What is now proved was once only imaginable.” — William Blake
Welcome to Innovation on JDMeier.com!
Imagine the power of innovation at your fingertips to create the future you want, grow a better business and build a better world. Innovation is the ultimate reflection of human potential, and we are only limited by our imagination.
When I was head coach for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s innovation team, I learned how to use trends & insights to help leaders reimagine the future, create and capture value, and disrupt industries through new business models.
I’ll share what I learned to help you innovate better, faster, easier, and empower you with skills to change the world.
Latest Innovation Articles
Here you can browse the latest articles based on most recently published:
Browse Latest Innovation Articles
What is Innovation?
Whether it’s a new approach, a new process, a new product, a new idea, a new way of doing something, the key to me is that innovation is applying creativity to create new value.
Here are a few ways to define innovation:
- “Innovation is the creation of new value through applied creativity.” This is default way I define innovation. What I like about defining innovation in this way is that it reminds us that innovation is a skill and it’s a way to apply creativity to create new value.
- “Innovation is the introduction of something new.” It’s a simpler and broader way I define innovation.
- “Innovation is the adoption of new ideas” or “Innovation is bringing new ideas to life in the market.” This is how I tend to define innovation in a business context.
- “Innovation is something different that creates value.” This is how Robyn Bolton, founder of MileZero, defines innovation. What I like about it is that it’s pretty inclusive and comprehensive and yet still useful.
And of course, some innovations are accidental discoveries (like when 3M created Post-Its / sticky notes, while trying to create a better, stronger, tougher adhesive).
For more information see What is Innovation?.
The Power of Innovation
Innovation is a skill we can use to imagine a better, brighter future and to bring good dreams to life. Innovation is a reflection of our ability to funnel our creativity, channel our energy and create and shape the future in the direction of our dreams.
Here are a few thoughts that remind us of the power of innovation:
- “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” ― Albert Einstein
- “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.” ― Albert Einstein
- “Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” ― Robin Sharma
- “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- “All it takes is one idea to solve an impossible problem.” — Robert H. Schuller
- “I want to put a ding in the universe.” –- Steve Jobs
- “Everything you can imagine is real.” — Pablo Picasso
For more insight on how innovation can change the world, see The Power of Innovation and The Power of Dreams.
The WHAT, the WHY, the HOW of Innovation
Here is how I think about the WHY, the HOW, and the WHAT of innovation:
- WHY: Innovation is often driven by a desire to improve the way things are done or to create new value or create new experiences.
- WHAT: Innovation can happen in many different areas, including technology, business, science, and the arts.
- HOW: Innovation as the process or the output of creating new ideas or methods, or improving existing ones, in order to solve problems, and meet new needs. Innovation can be accidental or intentional and by-design.
Innovation often involves taking risks and thinking creatively to come up with original solutions to problems. Innovation can be a process of cross-pollinating ideas from one domain to another, and it can also be an accidental discovery, where one effort fails, but leads to a breakthrough.
For more insight on this topic, see The Why, the What, and the How of Innovation.
All the Big Ideas of Innovation on a Page
Innovation Explained—The Big Ideas of Innovation — This is where I walk through the big ideas of innovation all in one place:
- 3 levels of innovation
- 5 adopter categories
- 6 archetypes for organizing innovation.
- 10 types of innovation
- the 70-20-10 rule of innovation
- the innovator’s dilemma
- sustaining innovation vs. disruptive innovation
- the innovation ambition matrix
- business model innovation
- management innovation
… and more.
My Innovation Philosophy
I’ve been leading innovation and learning as much as I can, from everyone I can. I’ve seen some of the most amazing innovations and worked with many of the most amazing innovators around.
Here is my innovation philosophy based on leading high performance innovation teams and building solutions to change the world:
- Innovation is a team sport. Innovation at its finest is a symphony of diverse minds and background composing ideas and creating beautiful music together to create new value.
- Innovation is how we solve our greatest challenges. Innovation is how we rise and thrive. Innovation is how we challenge ourselves and the world around us. Innovation as a way to see and solve problems in new ways and create new value. Great innovators see the world as it is, and how it could be, and help us bridge the gaps.
- Innovation is how we keep up with the future. And how we create the future. Disrupt or be disrupted. Continuous innovation is how we adapt and respond to our ever-changing world. Innovation challenges the status quo. It’s a way to think and do differently. It’s a way to change the way things have always been done.
- Innovation is a skill that anyone can learn. Anyone can learn to apply their creativity and imagination to solve problems and create new value. Innovation is one of the greatest ways to find your voice and help others find theirs and apply human potential as a force for greater good.
- Innovation is a game of adopting new ideas. Adapt or die. And adopt or die. Without learning how to rethink and change, innovation stalls and dies. To win the game of innovation, win the game of adoption and change.
- Innovation MUST be inclusive and diverse. The best innovation teams embrace diversity and create vulnerability-based trust, along with psychological safety. By applying creativity and imagination to solve problems and do things differently, that’s how we play the game of innovation. Truly embracing cognitive diversity / neurodiversity creates the greatest context for the greatest contribution, the greatest collaboration and the greatest innovation.
- Management innovation trumps all. Business model innovation can lead to business breakthroughs, but management innovation can lead to a culture of continuous business breakthroughs.
- Today is your future in the making. Every day you are building and shaping your future through your choices and your efforts. The key to business innovation is small business experiments to validate future value, today.
For more insight on this topic, see What is Your Innovation Philosophy?
Getting Started with Innovation
How To Become an Innovator — Anyone can practice and apply the skill of innovation. Whether you think of yourself as an innovator or simply someone who uses creativity and imagination to solve problems, here is a simple way to get started.
The Ultimate Innovation Guide
The Innovation Guide: Master Creativity, Vision, and Value Creation – The is the ultimate guide to Innovation to help you master creativity, vision, and value creation.
Agile Innovation Framework for Individuals, Teams, & Leaders
Agile Innovation Framework – This is a simple way to break the innovation challenge down into smaller, actionable components:
- Journey Map
- Solution Storyboard
- Tech Storyboard
- Value Scorecard
- Customer Story
These smaller components help the team think, act, and communicate as they work through the innovation challenge end-to-end, learning about the Current State and creating a Future State.
Best Books on Innovation
Best Innovation Books of All Time — This is my full list of the best innovation books of all time, based on what I’ve used to master innovation at work and learn innovation better, deeper, faster.
Here are some of the best innovation books of all time:
- Blue Ocean by W. Chan Kim and Renee Maugborgne
- Business Model Navigator by Oliver Gassmann, Karolin Frankenberger, Michaela Choudury and Michaela Csik
- Game Storming by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter Drucker
- The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Best Quotes on Innovation
Best Innovation Quotes of All Time – This is my collection of the best innovation quotes that I’ve curated to inspire better innovation and better results.
Here are a few examples:
- “Innovation is creativity with a job to do.” — John Emmerling
- “I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison
- “Never innovate to compete, innovate to change the rules of the game.“ — David O. Adeife
- “In every work of genius, we recognize our once rejected thoughts.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Are you a serial idea-starting person? The goal is to be an idea-shipping person.“ – Seth Godin
Trends & Insights Library
Trends Library — Trends help reveal insights and insights are the building blocks for innovation.
Here are a few key resources you may find useful to make the most of trends:
- Trend Summaries at a Glance
- How I Use Trends & Insights to Shape the Future
- How I Created Trends & Insights for Satya Nadella
Articles by Topic
Browse articles by topic:
Become an Innovator
- How I Learned the Skill of Innovation
- How To Be Creative at Any Age
- Innovate Like Einstein
- What I Learned About the Triad of User, Tech and Business
Communicating Your Ideas
- 3 Ways to Share Your Big Ideas Better
- How To Create a Vision Memo to Inspire and Drive Change
- How To Share Your Big Ideas Better with Email Memos
- How To Share Your Big Ideas Better with Narrative Memos
- The Power of Naming Beyond Words
Creating a Culture of Innovation
- Creating a Culture of Innovation: Nurturing Growth Mindsets
- Embrace the Digital Culture: Thrive in the Digital Era
- Innovation Killers: Overcoming Obstacles to Progress
- How To Brainstorm Better with Method 6-3-5
- How To Create the Future with Scenario Narratives
- How To Innovate Better with “How Might We”
- How To Innovate Better with “Imagine If”
- How To Innovate Better with Journey Maps
- How To Innovate Better with Mock Press Releases
- How To Innovate Better with the Double Diamond
- How To Reframe Problems as Creative Questions
- How To Think Up More Ideas Faster, Easier
- How To Use Brainwriting to Generate More Ideas
- How To Use Information Models to Brainstorm Better
- How To Warm Up Your Innovative Thinking
- You Don’t Need Goofy Techniques to Innovate
- 3 Parts of Business Development
- 3 Ways to Unleash Innovation in Your Organization
- 10 High Leverage Strategies for Innovation
- How MBAs vs. Innovators Think Differently
- Innovation Lifecycle
- Management Innovation is the Highest Form of Innovation
- Success Over Failure: Making Innovation Flourish
- The Innovative Team: Book Summary and Insights
- We Can Innovate Our Way Through Radical Transformation
- Why Cloud: Agility, Economics, and Innovation
- Why So Many Good Ideas Die
Foresight, the Future, and Trends
- Foresight is the Front End of Strategy
- How I Learned to Anticipate the Future
- How the Future Shuts Your Brain Down
- How To Launch a Startup Within a Big Company
- How To Think Like a Startup
- The Myths of Business Model Innovation
- Why Startups Fail