Innovation needs Execution

Scot Herrick over at CubeRules had a very interesting post today titled “Innovating Like Crazy; Executing Like Crap“. Great title and great thoughts in his post, including this one:

Innovation is essential to your work. Yet delivery of the innovation is the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace that you provide to your work.

As Scot says, Innovation is essential. In fact, its critical….but execution is as critical (and dare I say more critical) because without the ability to deliver your innovations to a market, the innovation has been nothing more than an exercise to see what cool stuff can be developed.

Need an example of Innovation needing execution?

Easy…one word: Xerox.

Many innovative ideas that have shaped our world today came out of Xerox PARC….but none of these ideas were turned into marketable products that made money for Xerox. Think about the following list of innovations…and think about how poorly Xerox executed the delivery of these products to market

  • The Graphical User Interface (GUI)
  • Mouse
  • Laser Printing
  • IPv6 (arguably a standard and not commercialized by anyone)
  • pervasive computing
  • and many more

The GUI was commercialized by Apple and has become the standard for interacting with computers…as has the mouse.

Xerox PARC was (are they still?) the research and development arm of Xerox but very little of the innovative ideas that were developed there became mainstream because of Xerox. They lacked the ability to excute on delivering these ideas to market.

NOTE: I’m sure that there are those readers that disagree with me about Xerox PARC and Xerox’ inability to execute to deliver marketable products….and you may be right. My knowledge of the situation is from reading many articles, books and speaking with people who were around at the time, but I’m not an expert in this field by any means.

The moral of this story is this: Before you innovate (or at least while you innovate), make sure you think about how to execute and deliver the new ideas you are cooking up.

Thanks for the idea for the post Scot.

[tags] Innovation, Execution, Delivery, Xerox PARC [/tags]

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