McGrath: Ideas are Just Seeds

We are getting into Rita Gunther McGrath’s book “The End of Competitive Advantage” – more specifically her chapter on managing innovation. Her main argument is that if the opportunities to gain competitive advantage are transient, firms must have the capacity to find ideas, test them and implement them on a regular basis. They need systemic innovation.

The first step in this was to make ideation a system rather than an af hoc event. The ideas that firms generate, however, are not worth anything in themselves. Indeed, they are a negative if they cannot be tested and then developed into products or services. The next step from systematic ideation, therefore, is systematic development.

So what does development mean? Primarily, it is identifying the assumptions underlying the idea and testing them in order to refine out what will work for the client target group. You might think of this stage as planning to incubate. Getting your ducks in order before you go ahead and build a prototype.

There is a lot to be said about this phase, and Rita suggests her book “Discovery Driven Growth” as a resource.

Next it is on to incubation!

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