In an earlier post, (Wednesday, April 05, 2006, Strategic Thinking Starts Wednesday at 8:30 AM), I talked about the expectation that our strategic planning efforts foster innovation and the reality that innovative ideas often come to us outside of the structured planning sessions. This is explored in a recent Harvard Business School Working Knowledge Newsletter interview by Sarah Jane Gilbert. In the interview, Professor Robert D. Austin discusses his research and practical implications of the concept of accidental innovation. He notes that many important innovations are the byproduct of accidents and that the key is to be prepared for the unexpected. Austin’s key concepts include: “Innovation can't always be planned—accidents happen. Be prepared to recognize serendipitous opportunity, and, Understand the nature of breakthrough inventions in your industry and plan accordingly.”
To access the full interview, go to: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5441.html.