The People Who Practice Everyday, Everywhere Innovation

Harvard Business Review

As human beings, we are born with a creative impulse, with an innate desire to use our imagination to better the world around us. Yet, all too often, our organizations end up being less innovative than the people within them. The dozens of in-the-trenches innovators who responded to our Innovating Innovation Challenge embody the first assertion and are working relentlessly and fearlessly to overturn the second.

We asked for real-world case studies and bold new ideas that will help us make innovation a deep-rooted, systematic competence in every kind of organization. In other words, how do we make innovation more of a natural act and less of a happy accident?

Of course, that's easier said than done. The disciplines of management were invented, more than a hundred years ago, to drive variety out of organizations. The goal was to excise the irregularities, in an effort to ensure conformance to work rules, quality standards, timetables and budgets. Today, though, it's the irregular people with their irregular ideas and irregular methods who create the irregular successes and profits. All too often, the quest to routinize the irregular ends up squelching innovation. The goal? Organizations that are paragons of penny-pinching efficiency and bastions of rule-busting innovation.

We received more than 140 entries from a diverse group of thinkers, practitioners and experimenters from around the world in pursuit of that goal. The judges and the MIX editorial team pored over the stories and hacks looking for depth, boldness, originality, clarity, and the ability to inspire and instruct in equal measure. We found those qualities in abundance — and are delighted, along with our partners at Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company, to announce 24 finalists (in alphabetical order):

Don't Use Your New Innovation Project to Change Your Business Model — Build On What You Do Well and Ensure Your Success
Hack by Jean Angus, Saint-Gobain

Managing for 21st Century Crime Prevention in Memphis
Story by Toney Armstrong, Memphis Police Department

Democratizing Entrepreneurship: Village Capital's Peer Selection Model
Story by Ross Baird, Village Capital

iMentors — Innovation belts spreading innovation within the organization
Story by João Manuel Brito Martins, co-authored by Jose Alberto de Oliveira Pereira, EDP Brazil

Keeping the Start-Up Spirit Alive at Red Gate
Story by Alice Chapman, Red Gate Software

Shell GameChanger — A Safe Place to Get Crazy Ideas Started
Story by Russ Conser, co-authored by Hans Haringa, Henk Mooiweer and Wim Schinkel, Shell

Case Coelce — Inspiring Innovation for Traditional Work Environments
Story by Luiz De Gonzaga Coelho Junior, co-authored by Odailton Arruda, Coelce

Fail Forward
Story by Ashley Good, Engineers Without Borders Canada

Making Innovation part of the DNA
Story by Jens Hauglum, co-Authored by Bente Mari Kristiansen, Bjørn Henrik Vangstein and Eyvind A. Larre, FINN.no

Blank Checks: Unleashing the Potential of People and Businesses
Hack by Sanjay Khosla, Mondelez, co-authored by Mohanbir Sawhney, Kellogg School of Management

Sustainability as Innovation Strategy: How Sustainability and Innovation Drive Each Other and Company Competitiveness at Danone
Story by Monica Kruglianskas, Danone, co-authored by Marc Vilanova, ESADE Business School

Innovation as a Business: How to Create a Repeatable and Sustainable Innovation Engine
Story by Lawrence Lee, PARC

Transforming Corporate Culture through Pervasive Innovation at KT
Story by Misook Lim, Korea Telecom

Democratise Innovation — for sustained Innovation culture
Story by Lalgudi Ramanathan Natarajan, Titan Industries

Whirlpool's Innovation Journey: An on-going quest for a rock-solid and inescapable innovation capability
Story by Moises Norena, Whirlpool

Unleashing Inclusive Innovation at Cisco
Story by Kate O'Keeffe, co-authored by John Marsland, Carlos Pignataro and Lisa Voss, Cisco

Global solutions, local failure — Overcoming barriers in implementing open innovation
Hack by Frank Piller, co-authored by Patrick Pollok, David Antons and Dirk Lüttgens, RWTH Aachen University

Project Bushfire — Focussing the might of an entire Organization on the Consumer & Customer
Story by Stephen Remedios, The Stephen Remedios Company, co-authored by Aswath Venkataraman, Sandeep Ramesh, Shruti Kashyap and Shashwat Sharma, Hindustan Unilever

21st Century Play Dates: How USC Annenberg's Innovation Lab brings together diverse communities to provoke innovation
Story by Susan Resnick West, co-authored by Erin Reilly and Jake de Grazia, USC Annenberg School

Innovation is not coincidence; it is built systematically every day and everyone can take part in it
Story by Óscar F. Rodríguez, Banco Davivienda

Is managed innovation an oxymoron?
Story by Kumar Sachidanandam, Cognizant

Crafting one of the world's largest ideapreneurship — seeding a grassroots revolution in service innovation
Story by Pranay Shah Singh, co-authored by Puneet Ramaul and Annu Talwar, HCL Technologies

"Ever Forward" Extreme Makeover — DPR Construction Rebuilds their Continuous Improvement Process from the Foundation Up
Story by Dan Tran, DPR Construction

Innotribe — a tribe of innovators in the financial industry
Story by Peter Vander Auwera, SWIFT

Please check out the finalist stories and hacks and add your comments and ratings ̬ they'll make a difference as finalists update and build on their entries for final judging. We'll announce the winners of the challenge here the week of February 11th.

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