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Leading for Innovation: And Organizing for Results by Iain Somerville, Marshall Goldsmith, Frances Hesselbein

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6.3. A Culture for Innovation

Innovation is hard to predict, may occur anywhere, and requires multiple experiments. One study of industrial innovation showed that it took three thousand raw ideas, reflected in three hundred formal proposals, winnowed down eventually to nine large development projects, to produce one commercial success. Pfizer tests over a hundred leads per year in order to find one promising direction for new drug development. Organizations should encourage innovation all the time, everywhere. A strategy for innovation involves activity at three levels of a pyramid:

  • At the peak—a few big bets about the future, and thus the biggest investments in product, technology, or market innovation

  • In the middle—a portfolio of promising ...

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