So are you staying stuck in the comfort zone or are you sort of riding the waves of innovation? Hi, my name is Bernie Heine, and today I want to talk about the four lenses of innovation as described in their book by Roman Gibson.

Daring to Challenge the Orthodoxies

The first lens is daring to challenge the orthodoxy. Going against the way we normally do business. Now this feels uncomfortable for a lot of people. We like to stay in our comfort zone. That’s why it’s called the comfort zone. We feel good there, but do we take the time to challenge those, to revisit those, to say “well is there a better way to do this?” So I encourage you to all think about in every part of everything you’re working on, “how can we do this better?” “How can we make better?”

Don’t get stuck in mediocrity. don’t get stuck in business as usual because the rest of the world is moving on. The more we stay in the same place with our processes with our tools using, the more we’re falling behind the rest of the world.

Seek Out Trends Early

The second lens to consider is seeking out trends early. Do you have enough information that you’re gathering? Are your people out there scanning the world to find out “what are the big trends that are happening, and are we getting on top of those early enough to be able to adapt our systems/our processes/our products the way we go to market? Are we following along on these trends? Do we see where they’re headed, and the implications that they have for our business?

And we can use those trends if we chart them out correctly to do some scenario planning to look at “what if this trend takes off?” “What if this trend actually goes away?” Doing these “what ifs” around all the trends that are happening can put us in a much better position as a company to ride that next wave of innovation and be there when those trends actually materialize.

Take Advantage of Every Resource

The third lens is to really get our resources into high gear. Are really taking advantage all the different resources that are available to us? Do we know what all the strengths are of our employees? Can we take advantage of those strengths? What are these people thinking and doing? Maybe we have special knowledge and expertise that we’re not even using on a daily basis. Could some of those capabilities help us move forward?

Also think about our physical assets. How are we utilizing our plants and our buildings? Are there more opportunities to take advantage of those assets and leverage those to really take our business in a different direction?

Understanding our Customer’s Latent Needs

The fourth lens of innovation is really understanding our customers needs. Customers don’t often tell us exactly what the next product is or the innovation is that they want us to give them. Henry Ford once famously said if he had asked his customers, he would have built a faster horse.

So we have to analyze what the customers are actually doing with our products, how they’re using, how they’re engaging with them, so that we can see an opportunity to jump ahead. We have the knowledge of what’s going on in our industries, and know where the technology might be headed. But we have to interact with customers constantly understand how those things can better their lives and make their businesses better