The Innovator's Hypothesis
How Cheap Experiments Are Worth More than Good Ideas
What is the best way for a company to innovate? That’s exactly the wrong question. The better question: How can organizations get the maximum possible value from their innovation investments? Advice recommending “innovation vacations” and the luxury of failure may be wonderful for organizations with time to spend and money to waste. But this book addresses the innovation priorities of companies that live in the real world of limits. They want fast, frugal, and high impact innovations. They don’t just seek superior innovation, they want superior innovators.
In The Innovator’s Hypothesis, innovation expert Michael Schrage advocates a cultural and strategic shift: small teams, collaboratively — and competitively — crafting business experiments that make top management sit up and take notice. Creativity within constraints — clear deadlines and clear deliverables — is what serious innovation cultures do. Schrage introduces the 5X5 framework: giving diverse teams of five people up to five days to come up with portfolios of five business experiments costing no more than $5,000 each and taking no longer than five weeks to run.
The book describes multiple portfolios of 5X5 experiments drawn from Schrage’s advisory work and innovation workshops worldwide. These include financial service approaches for improving customer service and addressing security challenges; a pharmaceutical company’s hypotheses for boosting regulatory compliance; and a diaper divisions’ efforts to give babies and parents alike better “diapering experiences” with glow-in-the-dark adhesives, diagnostic capability, and bundled wipes.
Schrage’s 5X5 is enterprise innovation gone viral: Successful 5X5s make people more effective innovators, and more effective innovators mean more effective innovations.
THE MIT Press (Oct 2014)