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Beyond The Obvious: Killer Questions for Game-Changing Innovation by Phil McKinney - Managing Jolts

February 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 162

Phil McKinney is the author of the new book, Beyond The Obvious: Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation. He's an innovation expert who has served as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for major technology companies and also leads innovation boot camps.

McKinney believes that ideas are our most valuable currency in today's creative economy, which now trumps the recent knowledge-based economy. He says that the most important question organizations aren't asking is "How do you know when your core business beliefs are heading toward obsolescence?"

It's important to continually ask good questions to get beyond the obvious answers. Do this; and you'll keep the momentum of discovery and innovation alive.

He acknowledges that innovation isn't easy; and no one gets it 100 percent right. Incorporating an organized method to generate, prioritize, and execute great ideas promotes innovative thinking.

McKinney provides a dynamic set of Killer Questions that force you to look "beyond the obvious." Those Killer Questions are divided into three categories:1) Who your customer is,2) What you sell them,3) How your organization operates.

Before you can use the Killer Questions to engage game-changing innovation, you need to get past your industry and company assumptions, manage the jolts; and neutralize the corporate antibodies. Here, the focus is managing your industry and company jolts.

Jolts. "Jolts are the earthquakes and tsunamis, metaphorical and sometimes literal that you either don't or can't see coming," says McKinney. Learning how to navigate jolts is pivotal in the innovation process. If you already have the "jolts-happen" mentality, you can leap frog over your competitor who may be stumped by the unexpected shift.

Jolts can be an opportunity for you if you recognize them and act fast. McKinney identifies two kinds of jolts:1. Unexpected jolts2. Competitive jolts.

McKinney asks:

What are the unexpected jolts that could transform your business? What's the worst-case scenario for you or your company? What situation is so severe that you know it will never happen? Something so unrealistic that it seems pointless to prepare for it?

McKinney references the 1982 Tylenol scare in Chicago where an unknown saboteur poisoned Tylenol capsules. Until then, drug companies, including Tylenol's parent company, Johnson & Johnson, hadn't protected their product from tampering, because no one had ever tried to compromise their product before. McKinney asks, "What is your Tylenol scare?"

How can I create a jolt that will give me a competitive advantage?

Think Yahoo! in the late 1990s. They had developed search features allowing people to rate websites by individually curating and ranking pages. Google appeared with the idea of automated page ranking rather than human organization. Yahoo! was prepared for a competitor who might make an incremental improvement, but not the game-changing effect of Google.

McKinney emphasizes the importance of learning how to apply a critical eye to your own industry. Before you can experience game-changing innovation, you must first discard your industry and company assumptions; and prepare for the unexpected jolts that will inevitably come.

To keep current on innovative thinking and actions, follow Phil McKinney on Twitter:!/philmckinney.

Timothy Zaun is a blogger, speaker and freelance writer. Visit him online at

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Beyond The Obvious


Game Changing Innovation


Phil Mckinney Managing Jolts


Killer Questions



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