Home Ideas that WORK Expert Talk The ‘Eureka Moment’: What is the Next Big Innovation in Innovation? (video+article+report)

The ‘Eureka Moment’: What is the Next Big Innovation in Innovation? (video+article+report)

The newest innovation in innovation is the use of rich media and online interactivity to involve broad audiences in the process.

Professor William A. Fischer on moving to where the ideas are flowing

Agility: Idea Flow is Critical,” interviewed by Paul Hunter.

Engaging users is among the many secrets that underlie successful innovation.

The newest innovation in innovation is the use of rich media and online interactivity to involve broad audiences in the process.

Technology is putting users into the creation seat for the bulk of new internet content.

Learn more >

Today, innovation is everywhere.

It concerns not only products and services, but also processes, technologies, business models, pricing plans and routes to market, even performance management practices – the whole value chain in fact.

Professor Cyril Bouquet and Research Fellow Jean-Louis Barsoux


Yet, building an innovation capability is not easy.

The anticipated benefits can fail to materialise – and worse still can distract the company from its operational focus.

New ideas are clearly important, but they are just the first step in a long sequence of activities that culminates in successful commercialisation. Real problems occur in latter stages, where people have to work out how to deliver on the idea and turn it into reality.

Besides framing the innovation challenge, top management also plays a vital role at the other end of the process, in deciding what needs to be discontinued. Companies can’t “do it all.”

Innovation is about finding the right mix of approaches – which means that companies must first be clear on the innovation challenge they face.

Learn more: Five lessons to boost your innovation practices >

The Idea Hunter

How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen

William A. Fischer

By Professor William A. Fischer with Andrew C. Boynton
Jack Welch once said, “Someone, somewhere has a better idea.” In this myth-busting book, the authors reveal that great business ideas do not spring from innate creativity, or necessarily from the brilliant minds of people. Rather, great ideas come to those who are in the habit of looking for great ideas all around them, all the time.Too often, people fall into the trap of thinking that the only worthwhile idea is a thoroughly original one. Idea Hunters know better. They understand that valuable ideas are already out there, waiting to be found – and not just in the usual places.

Ideas are arguably the most valuable asset that a firm [or an individual] can have in a knowledge-based economy, but how do you find valuable ideas — the kind that can change industries, boost careers, or alter organizations?

We believe that successful idea hunting is a learnable skill. In this IMD Discovery Event, Professor Bill Fischer, co-author of “The Idea Hunter,” will explore how ideas typically flow through organizations and communities and how different “hunting” styles can best capture these ideas and turn them into meaningful innovations. We will also examine how an increasing number of valuable ideas are being found by members of the so-called “Digital Cowboy” generation and the implications that this has for managing projects and teams in ways that best capture cross-generational expertise and experiences.

Jossey-Bass, 2011 • Hardback • ISBN 9780470767764
Buy hard copy or Kindle eBook

William A. Fischer

In March 2012, more than 50 participants attended The Idea Hunter discovery event at which Professor Bill Fischer shared his I-D-E-A tool for hunting new ideas – the roots of innovation. Being an interested person is the place to start. Then add diversity to the people from whom you hunt ideas, build the habit of idea hunting into your routine and develop your idea muscles. Finally, you need to understand how ideas flow through a community or organization, and create an appropriate environment to facilitate idea hunting agility.

To read the full article, click here.



The ‘secrets’ to successful idea hunting

Do you and your company have too many great ideas?

Unfortunately, probably not. In an IMD Alumni Club of Sweden event, hosted in Stockholm at Fortum, more than 100 business executives gathered to explore innovation and idea generation.

It’s not about what you already know now, but what you will learn next – that’s one of the underlying principles behind Professor Fischer’s concept of “idea hunting.” Co-author of The Idea Hunter and Director of IMD’s program Driving Strategic Innovation, Professor Fischer believes the ability to find good ideas is a learnable skill. But you have to prepare yourself.

“No one finds it odd to see a track athlete waking up at six in the morning to run laps – it’s necessary to train for the big race,” said Professor Fischer. “But how is today’s workforce, all the knowledge workers in offices, exercising their skills?”

Of his suggestions, Professor Fischer emphasizes the need of surrounding oneself with others and not just the others that you are used to. “More minds are better than fewer and more diversity is better than less,” he said. His point made looking at the discovery expeditions racing to the South Pole, where the successful team was led by an exemplar idea hunter, Roald Amundsen.

And in comes “The Bulldozer.” Pekka Viljakainen, author of No Fear: Business Leadership in the Age of Digital Cowboys, also underlines the importance of opening up to ideas.

“New business value is created through knowledge,” Viljakainen said. “Knowing things and people are more important than making tasks, as the basic component of an organization is dialogue, not a task.”

For Viljakainen, we must challenge our self through what he calls ‘social risk taking’ in order to best work with others and really benefit from shared ideas. For starters, Viljakainen said that in social risk taking, you must bring something to the table or have something valuable to offer. No one is going to share ideas with someone who doesn’t give back. He also warns that you’ll need to embarrass yourself sometimes. “You must be vulnerable and talk about your own mistakes and issues. It just makes people happy and happier people are better to share ideas with.” In his blog, nofear-community, Viljakainen invites business practitioners to share their own examples and stories.

Professor Fischer also insists on the age-old practice of note taking, but takes it a step further. “How many of us take notes in our daily tasks then close the book and set them aside,” he asks. “It must go beyond that. You have to write and rewrite, evaluate the learnings and, if you find something good, even bounce an idea off the person next to you.”

But how well might you know that person next to you, Viljakainen would question. In social risk taking, he believes one must go beyond the normal comfort zones and get personal. “You need to talk about private issues,” he said. “Social risk taking, at its best, is an unconscious way to get close with people.”

In addition to interacting with others, Professor Fischer also questions how well you know yourself and your surroundings. “You have to ask yourself, when – when do you get the best ideas and are you maximizing the benefit of that time?” He suggests we find a time when we are at our best and reserve it for ‘idea hunting,’ even if it means having to make a fictitious appointment on your agenda. Further, “there are ‘cool’ neighborhoods in every organization and place” and if you want to branch into the world of ideas, you must seek out these areas.

Discovery Events are exclusively available to members of IMD’s Corporate Learning Network. To find out more, go to www.imd.org/cln.