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Published by:
Ivey Publishing (2013)
Revision date:
in "Ivey Business Journal"
6 pages


One effective technique that a company can use to encourage innovative thinking is to imagine what it might have to do if its assumptions (eg about customer needs, costs and product design) are no longer valid - that is, to use 'contrarian assumptions.' This article proposes ten no-cost, contrarian ideas that firms and individuals can apply to improve innovation and productivity. 1) Innovation is something everyone should strive for in their products, services and activities. R&D teams may not be needed if innovation targets and key performance indicators are present. 2) A meeting agenda should not feature a list of topics, but a list of questions. 3) Meetings should be held in spaces that encourage innovation, not just in the boardroom. 4) Meetings should be run in a way that suits the specific problem. 5) Three feasible answers should always be proposed for a problem, rather than one. 6) The prevailing assumptions in an industry are only held dear by the current players. 7) Emotion, far from having no place in business, is the root of loyalty, service and gaining buy-in. 8) Perfect certainty cannot be acquired before taking action; hold only three meetings on a specific problem. 9) Reward not only successful innovations, but also successful efforts. 10) Innovation does not come primarily out of research labs.


General management/strategy

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