Article published in LinkedIn on 11 August by Jeff DeGraff, Dean of Innovation, Author and Thought Leader, which is an excerpt from his newly published book The Innovation Code.

Conflict doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, conflict is the very force that will bring about the best outcome in almost any given innovation initiative. The only way to create unlikely yet groundbreaking, provocative, and winning solutions is to build a team that doesn’t agree—a team that challenges each other by combining deeply dissimilar worldviews.

Constructive conflict propels innovation at the personal and organizational level. There are four basic approaches to innovation: the Artist, who loves radical innovation; the Engineer, who constantly improves everything; the Athlete, who competes to develop the best innovation; and the Sage, who innovates through collaboration.

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TII member Magnus Klofsten, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Linköping University in Sweden, has recently co-authored two academic papers on how incubators and science parks ensure a steady flow of tenants and talent.

The first paper entitled “Sustainability-profiled incubators and securing the inflow of tenants – The case of Green Garage Berlin” is published in the Journal of Cleaner Production 157 (2017) 76-83 and is available at

The second paper on “Future developments for science parks: Attracting and developing talent” was first published in Industry & Higher Education in March 2017 and is available at



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A new business insight provided by Roger La Salle, innovation thought leader and pioneer of “Matrix Thinking”™ Mr La Salle will be delivering a one-day workshop on Opportunity Capture at the TII Training School in Lyon (2-6 October 2017).

Invest but don’t waste

Getting a return on your innovation investment is something you must demand otherwise your innovation efforts may well spiral out of control with little to show in the end. Indeed many organizations have realized this and literally disbanded their innovation departments as a waste of money.

But does this apply to innovation?

In any properly run business pressure is applied to deliver outcomes often against demanding KPIs. Sales, production, finance and marketing all operate under such demands so why should an innovation department be any different?

You can’t think under pressure!

The old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is absolutely true. With that in mind it may follow that outcomes in innovation can be demanded when pressure is properly applied. Think of your innovation department or indeed any of your innovation endeavours as simply a production department with a different product – in this case a product or process that is new or different from something you are already doing.

Of course many new to the game will be pushing back with the tried and true axiom that one cannot be creative under pressure. This is nonsense. History tells the story.

Wars prove it

Probably the greatest spurts in innovation and invention in history driven under extreme pressure and absolute necessity can be seen during any war or major conflict.

The Second World War is a good examples that spawned so many innovations it would be impossible to audit. From vastly improved aircraft, RADAR, proximity triggered cannon shells, communications, miniaturized radios, gun sights and directors. The list is endless and all delivered under enormous pressure. Indeed, wars or times of crisis are clear proof that innovations can be delivered under pressure. A major Asian bank for example has come to this realization with a KPI mandated on each Department head that 10% of each successive year’s revenue shall come from new products. They demand this and achieve it, so too should you!

So what’s the message?

Have demanding KPI’s for innovation, just like sales and production. Measure your innovation ROI and be ruthless in demanding outcomes. If it’s not working then it may be time to review your approach. Innovation can be made to work.

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The innovation talent consultancy Swarm Vision recently carried out a study to find out how the theme of innovation talent is handled on innovation blogs. The starting premise was a 2010 report by CapGemini that found that “difficulty finding the right people to drive innovation efforts was the number one constraint to innovation success.” Swarm Vision therefore assumed there would be lots of good advice in the numerous innovation blogs that exist on the web on the people side of innovation ‑ innovation talent, leadership and teams. They then set out to find the best blogs on innovation talent.

Their methodology consisted of the following:

  • First, they identified the top 60 blogs using several online lists.
  • Then they focused on those blogs with at least 5,000 Facebook fans or Twitter followers, of which there are 31.
  • They then analyzed recent months of these 31 blogs, looking for any articles on innovation talent.
  • They also searched key terms on each of the 31 blogs to unearth older articles of relevance.
  • They tagged each article on the aspects of innovation that it discussed (e.g. creativity, leadership, teams, hiring, retention, culture of innovation).
  • Finally, they rated each blog on the percentage of articles related to innovation talent, and on the quality of those articles. They defined quality as offering clear advice based on empirical results, not just assertion.

Three Surprising Findings

Based on their research, they reached three unexpected conclusions:

  1. Little out there on innovation talent
    Their first surprise was that the top 31 innovation blogs offer few articles on the subject of innovation talent. This is particularly surprising given how critical the people side of innovation truly is.
  2. Casual & vague treatment of innovation talent
    Their second surprise was how these mentions were mostly in passing, not dedicated in-depth treatments. The blogs that did mention the topic offered pretty vague advice, such as “You need to hire the right people for innovation,” with little guidance on just how to do that.
  3. No framework for innovation talent
    Thirdly, the subject of innovation talent seems to lack an organizing theory or framework. There are shards of wisdom here and there about creative people, environments that foster creativity, the power of diverse teams, and the like.

That being said, three innovation blogs stand out for covering the subject of innovation talent, and for specific articles of value. Consider these blogs your starting point:

Blog Name # Facebook Fans # Twitter Followers
Stephen Shapiro Blog 5,492 7,976
Innovation Management 5,399 12,683
Destination Innovation 237 42.1k



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As part of a collaboration with the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Science|Business has been asking online readers what they think are the biggest contributions of Europe to science and technology. The survey – which you can still take – lists seven possible answers, from DNA to the Higgs Boson, and invites write-ins. Though not statistically significant, it gives an idea of what a science-literate audience thinks, with more than 1,000 responses since it began in July.

The top choice with 420 votes is the discovery of the DNA structure and the development of cloning, gene-editing and other DNA technologies, followed by the development of mobile and smartphones (388 votes), the development of wind, solar and other renewable technologies (330 votes), the discovery of new medicines for cancer, epidemics and other health problems (286 votes) and the discovery of the risks of climate change (270 votes).

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Even if empirical evidence shows the innovation and performance benefits gained by the firms that adopt Open Innovation (OI), this paper written by Prof. Nola Hewitt-Dundas of the School of Management at Queen’s University Belfast and Prof. Stephen Roper of Enterprise Research Centre at Warwick Business School, demonstrates that for micro businesses the level of engagement in OI falls below an optimal level, basically due to the following market failures: firms’ lack of understanding of the potential benefits of OI; a lack of information about the capabilities of potential partners; and a lack of information about the trustworthiness of potential partners.

The paper, which was published in the International Small Business Journal, is available at:

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Translated from the article orginally published in Forbes France on 21 August 2017 by Sylvie Gamet, CEO at Nowall Innovation and Finantis Value.

Many experts compete for the podium of the best qualities to develop in order to innovate better. In a pocket handkerchief you will find for example, innocence and boldness, the ability to detect opportunities and needs and to respond to them the best you can.

Thinking about it, a single quality seems to be the foundation of innovation and many other social or societal developments. And yet, you will see, it is not the most shared quality! Yes, we are talking about empathy.

If we generally consider that innocence and naivety are associated with childhood, boldness to a rather masculine quality, empathy could be its counterpart: a fairly feminine quality. Empathy brings a conciliatory and constructive balance by inviting you to understand and embrace a multitude of points of view, feelings, analyzes wherever they come from, and to make them our own. This goes beyond mere observation or sympathy, the final aim is to reach some symbiosis.


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