Have you noticed that the business world is increasingly competitive? That all the time we have to excel, differentiate ourselves, reinvent ourselves and innovate? This is what Clemente Nóbrega and Adriano Roberto de Lima deal with in their book, “Innovatrix”.
There was a time when managing was synonymous with overseeing and taking care of. That is, it was sufficient to ensure that everything continued to work as before.
But, not now. Currently, managing has become synonymous with creating and innovating. Keeping things as before is falling behind.
Is there another way to generate innovation without having to hunt geniuses out there?
The authors draw attention to the fact that innovation is not an art form that depends on an inspired moment, but rather a method that can be learned, taught, implemented and practiced.
Do you want to know how? Read on to learn more.
“Innovatrix: Inovação para Não Gênios”, “Innovatrix: Innovation for Non-Geniuses” in a free translation, was published in 2010 by authors Clemente Nóbrega and Adriano Roberto de Lima.
In its 168 pages, divided into five chapters, the book presents a method for implementing a culture of innovation in companies.
Both authors have a background in physics and this was crucial for them to seek in science the foundations for the creation of their method, which is based on the idea that innovation and creativity do not depend so much on “thinking geniuses” but on systematic processes of elaboration.
With many practical examples from the big companies in the market, what the book presents is a method within the reach of any organization that is concerned with innovating.
Clemente Nóbrega is a physicist, who has worked as a nuclear engineer for 14 years. He later became director of marketing for Amil, a position he held for another 14 years.
He left Amil to start his own company and to work as a writer, consultant, and speaker. This company is Innovatrix.
Clemente is the author of 9 books and also has articles published in the magazines Exame and Época Negócios.
Adriano Roberto de Lima, also a physics graduate, with a postdoctoral degree in France, has worked and advised large national and multinational companies. He is also an entrepreneur, currently partner and director of innovation and marketing at Inmetrics.
He has published several works, as well as presentations at congresses and seminars.
Objectively, reading “Innovatrix” is recommended, above all, for those who exercise management and leadership roles in organizations, because what the book proposes, directly, is the implementation of a corporate method of innovation based on an initiative of their leaders.
For those who do not perform such functions, reading is valid as knowledge and proactively as a stimulus for the dissemination of a culture of innovation.
In its full text, the book presents several practical examples to illustrate the application of the method. In this summary, we seek to explore mainly the concepts around which the method is based.
So let's understand how innovation is manufactured. Good reading!
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Referring to some scientific principles cataloged by Russian engineer and scientist Genrich Altshuller, the authors come to interesting conclusions about innovation. For example:
Giving a high value on innovations that make a big impact, we tend to consider them to be for few people. So while geniuses create mind-boggling solutions in their labs and garages, ordinary mortals would be left with only the option of admiring them.
This is a mistaken view of innovation. Van Gogh, Einstein, and Steve Jobs do not represent the average profile of the innovator. A negative consequence of this kind of vision is that it discourages people and companies from seeking innovative solutions.
What's more, even genius innovations come within specific scenarios and processes that are within the reach of anyone and any business. There is no innovation without a systematic process behind it. That is what gives value to it.
In many cases, people and companies are regarded as genius and visionary because they systematize methods for creating solutions.
A company justifies its existence only if it can consistently produce value. To do so, the market must agree to pay for products at a price that exceeds production costs. But we must also seek to reduce such costs.
Over the prices the market pays, the company has no control. Production costs depend essentially on their management.
In the past, management was synonymous with supervision and work was synonymous with production. Today, management incorporates the need to innovate, while work incorporates the need to be productive.
A company becomes sustainable in the sense of self-maintenance when it can systematically innovate more than its competitors. In the end, it is always up to the market to validate or not the company's efforts to innovate.
Altshuller, the Russian scientist cataloged 40 inventive principles that contributed to the great innovations in technology. Based on these principles, we come to Innovatrix, a set of methods and tools to establish an environment conducive to innovation.
Innovatrix is of particular interest to those who perform leadership roles in companies, as they have a central role in the pursuit of innovation. The method trains this person to identify problems, their circumstances, and the appropriate means to overcome them through innovation.
In addition to the method, there are tools, combining creativity and discipline for systematic innovation. Far from being locked into theoretical conceptualizations, Innovatrix focuses on the practicalities of the issue.
First, we need to identify the gap, that is, the unsolved contradiction that prevents the symmetrical balance of the company.
Then, we use the business conflict matrix, a tool that establishes a correlation between several problematic situations that organizations have experienced in the past and, on the other hand, the inventive principles that guided their resolution.
In this matrix, it is possible to find situations similar to those that the organization is currently experiencing and thus take them as a starting point for the solution. Identifying the way, the company must elaborate and propose the solutions.
The most critical moment in the whole process is getting the company leaders to reach the main gap to be attacked. For this phase, there are tools that lead participants to circumvent the dominant mental logic. After this step, the solution to the problem comes easily.
Clemente Nóbrega and Adriano R. de Lima present a number of case studies, identifying the contradictions that companies have faced and the appropriate inventive principles to solve them.
By using the business conflict matrix and inventive principles table, Innovatrix presents itself as an advantageous alternative to the already traditional brainstorming.
Solutions captured from a brainstorming session tend to be restricted to the participants' universe of knowledge and it is rare for this group of people to have such a multidisciplinary background that they can make relevant contributions from other areas of activity.
On the other hand, through its tools, Innovatrix works with a very diverse collection of situations, so that experiences from completely different sectors can effectively contribute to a solution.
When it comes to innovation, many have product innovation in mind. It is undoubtedly important but insufficient to sustain a business. Especially when these innovations are easily copied by the competition. Thus, the most important is in business model innovation.
A very illustrative example was the success of the iPod. Contrary to popular belief, this success was not due to the product itself and the technology employed in it. Similar products existed in the market.
iPod stood out for offering an innovative business model that appealed to all parties: customers, artists, record labels, and the platforms that would offer the music.
The business model is an arrangement of those elements that need to be in balance according to the principle of symmetry (markets, processes, people). It can also be understood as defining how the company will create and deliver value.
The definition of the business model follows a few well-defined steps:
Two of the most important tools for applying INNOVATRIX are the business conflict matrix and the inventive principles table.
In the business conflict matrix, 31 parameters are defined that correspond to the causes of conflicts in companies. Conflict is a situation in which the improvement of one aspect implies the worsening of another(s), such that intermediation is required.
In principle, these 31 parameters cover all known situations in organizations, but nothing prevents new parameters from being set. Innovatrix maintains a database constantly fed by new information.
The 31 parameters are divided into 5 groups, namely:
Another essential element for the methodology is the table of inventive principles, made up of 40 items. It has its origin in science, but it has been shown to be perfectly applicable to business.
An inventive principle corresponds to a possible path to the solution of contradictions. For example:
The book “Creating Breakthrough Innovations” features articles from Harvard Management Update and the Harvard Management Communication Letter. The aim of the series is to help managers gain competitive advantage in the market through strategies and tools. The work in question focuses on the idea of developing innovations in companies and maintaining their growth.
Luiz Guimarães’ “Inove ou Morra”, introduces a proposal that seeks to modernize and innovate companies to adapt them to the digital age, focusing mainly on customers. The book brings reflections that help to better understand the changes and their causes, besides stating that it is not necessary to be a Startup to innovate.
Finally, in “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”, the author Peter Ferdinand Drucker defends the theory that creativity and innovation are not acts of genius, but a study, search and planning that requires discipline to follow systematic steps. He believes that innovating requires discipline to apply the right techniques.
Well, Innovatrix refers to a complete innovation program to be deployed in an organization. However, regardless of its adoption as a corporate solution, some defining concepts may also guide us in our individual actions.
For example, you can take as a troubleshooting method the following sequence of actions:
Another way to take advantage of Innovatrix’s teachings is to study the 40 inventive principles of science and, in each situation, to evaluate which ones are applicable.
So, do you think it is possible to implement a systematic method of pursuing innovation in your work environment? Would you adopt Innovatrix? Leave your feedback in the comments!
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