Innovation Consulting in a nutshell

A colleague recently wrote, “you should share your technology masterplan with the rest of us.”

As an innovation consultant, I don’t have a specific master plan. I have a few operational guidelines for all projects.

Innovation Consulting Guidelines

  1. Interoperate – Make sure new systems are able to talk to the rest of the world’s systems when they replace old systems
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Reduce work – Never build a workflow that increases the NET work required for the team. All innovations should be “net work neutral” or reduce work. The only exception to this rule is where the bottom line (revenue) increases at a much greater rate than the additional work required. And in those cases, you hire more people, so the net work per existing employee likely goes down over the long term.
  4. Mechanize – Build systems that let computers handle the paperwork and drudgery for you
  5. When in doubt, refer to rule #2

The “how” of innovation

My consulting usually follows the same process to solving problems:

innovation_consulting_as_process

First, figure out what problem you really need to solve. Are you building a customer-relationship management (CRM) system when you really just need to bill clients, or report to funders? Then scope out what parts you will try to solve. Then do some experiments. Spend some time solving specific use-cases. Finally, operationalize your solution in the company’s system so that you haven’t added a new, time-consuming process, but instead replaced a bad approach with a better one.

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