The is the 4th video in my series on Innovation Mastery: The Definitive Guide To Running The Ultimate Innovation Program: Playing With Cool Toys
It’s Christmas morning. You are 6. You could barely sleep thinking about all of the presents which might be under the tree. Is it that new BB gun you always wanted? Will Santa be good to you this year? Does your dad have a lamp sized present under the tree which looks like a crate labeled “fragilé”? Your mind races with the thought of all the cool new toys that might be under the tree. You’re under the covers, wide awake, waiting with anxious anticipation for the moment your Mom calls upstairs “Wow! Look at all the presents Santa brought!”. You fling off the covers and tear downstairs, only to be greeting with the most amazing site of your young life, the Christmas tree surrounded by what seems likes hundreds of presents!
You hope none of them are clothes.
Who doesn’t love playing with cool new toys?
Playing with cool new toys, if you ask me, is one of the best parts of running an innovation program. It’s an awesome side effect of working on the latest and greatest stuff. In fact, one of the main reasons I moved to Silicon Valley from the cold Great White North was not just to get away from the snow and ice in the winter and the blazing heat and humidity in the summer, but it was to work with or play with all of the coolest new toys – and help invent those cool new toys.
Playing with cool new toys/products/services is cool. Inventing them is even cooler! But is the main goal of your innovation program? Sure, it’s an awesome side benefit, and definitely a major draw for those innovators who love to work with the cool, new toys (as I mentioned above, I know plenty of people are more in the business to build new things, to make a dent in the universe, as opposed to getting a big chunk of cash in the IPO –that helps too of course.
Inventing the future is cool – inventing solely so that you can be the first to play with them, but not turn them into anything real, not so cool.
Think of it this way: you are a typical employee in a typical enterprise. You have an awesome idea for a new product, you submit it into the program, it gets accepted and built, and is being used internally to show off how cool your company is. How do you think that makes you feel?
In my experience, inventors would forgo almost any kind of reward in return for one thing: to be able to point to their product, in the real world, a living breathing thing which people are using, and say to themselves, their families, their children, their friends, three little words:
“I made that”
Help them to say that. Launch those cool new things into the world.