Missing Strategy Ingredient

Missing Strategy Ingredient

Highlights by David Willden

Peter Jay Sorenson gave a fascinating presentation at the 2012 annual conference in Chicago for the Association of Strategic Planning. His presentation was titled “Innovation: The Missing Ingredient in Rethinking and Resetting.”

Who is Peter Jay Sorenson?

Peter or “Pete” is the founder of “Strategic Organization Design, Inc.” He has a unique talent to make sense out of messes, and to help organizations develop powerful solutions that have impact. Additionally, Pete is passionate about helping others in developing countries to become self-reliant. He has a Masters in Organizational Behavior from Brigham Young University, and a Bachelors from University of Washington focused on Behavior Sciences. 

Why is Innovation So Important?

The issues confronting the United States are significant. However, elsewhere the challenges are exponentially more difficult. Peter highlighted issues that constrain African Development initiatives. These include: water, electricity, sewage & trash, corruption, education, health care, urbanization, crime, criminal system, agricultural productivity and class structure. The issues that impact developing nations, Peter explained also impact developed nations. And, the “path” to solutions are the same for everyone. His point is that innovation is critically needed by all.

Innovation:  The Missing Ingredient

IEnabling technologies can be key. “Technology” as used in the book The Innovator’s Dilemma is the “process by which an organization transforms labor, capital, materials, and information into products and services of greater value.” Peter also shared, “this concept of technology therefore extends beyond engineering and manufacturing to encompass a range of marketing, investment, and managerial processes. Innovation refers to a change in one of these technologies.”

The Innovator's DNA

The Innovator’s DNA was written by Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton Christensen. This book may be one of the most important business books of this decade. The authors started their project by asked the question, “where does innovation come from?”

They didn’t claim to have the answers. They put together team that spent eight years finding out. This team interviewed: founders and CEOs of game-changing companies, 100 revolutionary inventors, 500 strong innovators, and over 5,000 executives in 75 countries. The result of the study is compiled and presented in “Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators.” The team suggests that Innovators are not born, they are made. They found that innovators focus more and develop skills in five key areas:

  • Questioning: Innovators have a passion for inquiry and learning. They frequently challenge the status quo by asking basic questions. They also as the question, “if we did this, what would happen?”
  • Observing: Innovators are deep observers. They watch and observe trying to gain new ideas.
  • Networking: Innovators spend gathering, sharing, and testing new ideas through a wide network of people with varying backgrounds.
  • Experimenting: Innovators are continually piloting new ideas.
  • Associating: Finally, innovators are able to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas or problems, to develop breakthrough ideas.