Two Models of Business Innovation, Courtesy of Two Kaplans

Two Kaplans present differing but possibly compatible innovation guidelines in recent books.
Both offer vivid and familiar business examples, and argue that transformational change rather than incremental change is required to drive innovation.

Saul Kaplan

Saul Kaplan

Saul Kaplan founded Business Innovation Factory (BIF), after serving as the Executive Counselor to the Governor of Rhode Island on Economic Growth and Community Development, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, and Senior Partner at Accenture’s Health & Life Science practice.

He boldly states in his book, The Business Model Innovation Factory: How to Stay Relevant When the World Is Changing,  that business transformations that underlie innovation start by “transforming ourselves” 

This Kaplan says the top three action steps for innovators are:
• Do more stuff
• Use a different lens
• Enable random collisions of unusual suspects

He advises innovators to:
• Embrace a culture of “fail early, fail often” to enable risk-taking
• Think and act with the system in mind

Soren Kaplan

Soren Kaplan

Soren Kaplan offers LEAPS as an acronym of innovation practices in his well-received book Leapfrogging: Harness the Power of Surprise for Business Breakthroughs 

• Listen: Start with yourself, not the market
• Explore: Go outside to stretch the inside
• Act: Take small steps again, again, and again
• Persist: Take the surprise out of failure
• Seize: Making the journey part of the final destination

He advocates “optimistic persistence” in the face of repeated trials that depart from intended outcomes, and reframing these efforts as progressive learning that inspires continued forward efforts.
Though he attributes effective business to achieving “surprise”, this effect has also been characterized as “differentiation” and “customer delight.”
This Kaplan acknowledges that many business executives openly state that they do not like surprises, and that they hire people to prevent surprises.

Both Kaplans recommend breaking conceptual limitations and perceptual tunnel vision, and offer compatible tips for systems thinking and courageous experimentation to drive business innovation.

-*What models of business innovation have been most effective in igniting creative problem solving in your work environment?

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