Jennifer B. Davis
For a while, I have subscribed to a newsletter put out by the InnovationNetwork. You can sign up or view archives at The InnovationNetwork guru, Joyce Wycoff also has a blog.

Several months ago they had a discussion about what "simple rules" would create sustainable innovation for companies which is a great example of the kind of topics that are featured. Here is a summary of a few of my favorites that kicked the discussion off.

A. Four Simple Rules
Contributor: Paul Hindes, president of Watcher Technologies as quoted
in Fortune Magazine's article "Making Decisions in Real Time"

1. You can't be a jerk with clients.
2. Tell me if I have spinach in my teeth
3. Be responsive, but not dumb.
4. It's really, really okay to make mistakes.
Note: I have edited some of the potentially-offensive language from
the original, but I hope captured the essence (jd)

B. Everything I needed to learn, I learned in Junior High
Contributor: Unknown Junior High, as quoted in Margaret Wheatley's book
Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time (February 2005).

1. Take care of yourself.
2. Take care of each other.
3. Take care of this place.

C. Innovation and Progress
Contributor: Brian Barron as attributed to William Kingston's book Innovation: The Creative Impluse in Human Progress (1977).
1. Develop only the bare minimum to prove an idea
2. Prove only one idea at a time
3. Never develop what can be bought or modified
4. Minimize the time to demonstration
5. Insist on the highest standards of workmanship
6. Do all of this with the smallest team possible.

D. Google's 9 Rules
Contributor: Marissa Mayer (their innovation guru) 45-minute presentation on the Stanford University Website
1. Ideas come from everywhere
2. Cheer everything you can
3. You're brilliant, we're hiring
4. A license to pursue dreams
5. Innovation, not instant perfection
6. Data is apolitical
7. Creativity loves constraints
8. It's users, not money
9. Don't kill projects, morph them

If you could create a few "rules" (or guidelines or principles) that could create sustainable innovation within your company or organization, what would they be?
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1 Response
  1. I haven't read it yet, but I am told that Yvon Chouinard's book "Let My People Go Surfing: the education of a reluctant buisnessman" is good. The founder of Patagonia's environmental philosophy guidelines have a definite personal behavior quality about them:

    1. Lead an examined life.
    2. Clean up our own act.
    3. Do our penance.
    4. Support civil democracy
    5. Influence other companies

    Take the first guideline: Lead an examined life. Chouinard calls
    our current environmental crisis a failure of imagination and
    states, "Uncurious people do not lead examined lives; they cannot
    see causes that lie deeper than the surface." More on this later.