Innovation – Leveraging cognitive diversity, allowing ideas to flourish

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The Future Business Formula is my new book that provides insights into the changing landscape of business and how organisations can adapt to succeed.

In my latest blog in the countdown to the book’s release in May, I provide an overview of Chapter 7, exploring innovation and how to leverage cognitive diversity to allow ideas to flourish.

Principle Seven – Innovation

The history of Formula 1 is filled with examples of ground-breaking innovations that revolutionised the sport. Formula 1 teams constantly strive for a competitive edge through innovation in technology, processes, and strategy. For example, Mercedes’ 2020 steering wheel innovation, inspired by the technical director’s passion for aerobatics, provided a performance advantage.

Businesses can learn a lot from F1 in this area. The ability to innovate is critical for organisations to stay ahead of the competition and overcome barriers to entry. Continual innovation is key in a world of hyper-disruption, and myths about what makes innovation work need to be dispelled.

Let’s face it, innovators like Steve Jobs are rare. Organisations must seek alternative methods to foster innovation within their business, rather than solely depending on the charm and individuality of a single person to achieve success.

To innovate successfully, organisations need to focus on customer insight and understanding their future needs, not just relying on data from the past. This includes valuing customer experience over technology and creating compelling in-store experiences and other unique experiences for customers. The most successful innovations are often small tweaks to customer journeys and leveraging legacy technology. To achieve this, organisations need to build true customer centricity within their organisation and anticipate future needs by talking to customers before they become consumers. Success in innovation comes from combining both customer insight and data to anticipate what future markets and future needs might be. It’s impossible to make a seismic leap from your core business to a completely new one overnight. Mobile operators for example, should not try to be the new Facebook or WhatsApp.

There are some key ingredients for innovation success:

  • Challenge the status quo by looking at competitors, customers, and the world.
  • Balance creativity and experimentation with operational excellence.
  • Create the right environment for innovation, allocate resources and embrace unconventional ideas.
  • Systemise innovation to consistently deliver products on time, on budget, and on spec.
  • Permission to play is important for emergent strategy.

Create an environment for continuous innovation by adapting your mindset as a leader in the 21st century. “Idea sex” can lead to breakthrough ideas, so foster an environment where it can happen. Encourage people to think outside the system, create diverse teams, and value the knowledge and insight of all team members.


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More reading:

Read Principle One: Strategy
Read Principle Two: Customer
Read Principle Three: Alignment
Read Principle Four: Leadership
Read Principle Five: Culture
Read Principle Six: Talent
Read Principle Eight: Change & Delivery
Read Principle Nine: Simplification
Read Principle Ten: Organisation Design
Read Principle Eleven: Learning
Read Principle Twelve: Measurement
More information on The Future Business Formula

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Written by Adrian Stalham
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