Encouraging Accidental Invention

Dal blog di BNET.com un interessante articolo che parla della libertà di innovare…

It’s not by accident that some of our greatest inventions have resulted from, well, accidents. Many inventors stumble across breakthrough ideas while actually looking for something else, or not even looking at all.

A melted candy bar led to the creation of the the microwave oven. Penicillin was discovered after a scientist unintentionally left a dish of staphylococcus uncovered for several days.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Harvard Business School assistant professor Robert Austin and co-authors Lee Devin and Erin Sullivan provide tips on how accidental innovation can be encouraged in your organization.

Why does innovation-by-accident occur? The researchers write in their article Oops!:

“There’s good reason for this: Genuinely new things are hard to conceive and create because we are limited by habits, routines and presumptions. Accidents move us past our limits and bring us to outcomes we couldn’t produce deliberately. The problem is that managers usually try to avoid accidents and other unintended variations, seeing them as “failures” that clog up the operation.”

To encourage such serendipidity, managers should:

  • “Hire creative people, give them unexpected assignments to keep their creative juices flowing and support their inclination to squirrel away ideas that don’t immediately pan out.”
  • “Cut the cost of testing out new inventions and attack problems from as many different angles as you can.”
  • “Watch for accidents of all shapes and sizes — and don’t label unexpected outcomes ‘failures.’”

Read the article for more-in-depth information on this fascinating subject.

Related Reading:

The Accidental Innovator (HBS Working Knowledge)


Ciao, sono Dragan Bosnjak e sono qui per guidarti nella scoperta del mondo di lean thinking!

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