The adage of Thomas Alva Edison – that genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration – remains as true today as when he coined it over a century ago. And it rings even more true when you think about innovation. 

Whether you believe the creation of new ideas, products or processes that cause significant leaps forward happens just through “Eureka!” moments, or whether you think innovation is achieved as a one-time project or special initiative, you’re wrong. In short, innovation is the result of a well-thought operating model more than the product of that “culture of innovation” that has become a buzzword everywhere – as useful as such a culture may be once the proper model has been set in place. 

That’s what Fahrenheit 212's Adam Rubin states in his paper called Stop Trying to Build an Innovative Culture, the first in a series of perspectives on the discipline of innovation he and a mix of Fahrenheit 212 colleagues will be co-writing in the next few months.

The key to effective corporate innovation that can create sustainable, profitable growth is an “innovation operating model,” one that, in order to be robust, “ought to reflect the why, how, and what of the entity” that creates it and uses it. It takes the shape of a pyramid, with the purpose of innovation inside the company on top, and the tactics that deliver the outcomes at the bottom.

“It is much better to think about innovation as a system with its own operating model,” Adam states, adding that companies “can establish real, durable and effective capabilities that can drive the growth that companies need, (…) capabilities would serve as both the heart and mind of an independent growth engine. And this is the path to an innovative culture, which is something definitely worth pursuing, just not something that can be directly bought.”

This framework is both the product of Adam’s nearly two decades of experience in innovation as well as the result of his study of it as a field of thought. He reminds us that up until the mid-80s, when the article Discipline of Innovation by Peter Drucker saw the light, innovation was mostly thought of as “the product of luck and natural traits” and not a discipline that could be analyzed and applied. And it was this groundbreaking idea that in the next two decades made large corporations realize they would need external help to benefit from the disruptions caused by new technologies, inspiring in turn the creation of thinking consultancies, such as Fahrenheit 212.

But what would an effective innovation operating model look like up close? And what does this all have to do with Curb Your Enthusiasm?

Download and read Stop Trying to Build an Innovative Culture to find out more.