INNOVATION: FIVE DISCIPLINES by Curtis Carlson - The Vibons Blog


By Team Vibons, Curtis Carlson   |    3 min read


By Team Vibons, Curtis Carlson
 3 min read

How is that brands such as Apple put one successful product after another on the market, while companies such as Polaroid disappear? This is a topic that scientists, company executives, and management gurus have been mulling over for a very long time. The book by Curtis Carlson, “The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want” discusses this question in detail.

The main premise of the book is that true innovation is possible with a systematic and disciplined approach, not with an instant flash of genius as put forward by Hollywood.

The author is immensely experienced in field research. He is the CEO of an R&D company that has ushered in a number of innovations such as the computer mouse, HDTVs, and the use of robots in surgeries... Let's take to heart his recommendations, which have been proven through experience.

At the time when the author was the CEO of a small R&D company, the organization had a modest revenue, and it was awful in innovation. He analyzed the situation. He determined that the company had a slapdash R&D approach without a clear framework to accomplish targets. Within a decade, the two authors achieved double-digit growth figures, thanks to the "five disciplines" they applied together. Here are these five disciplines:

1. Identify important customer needs

2. Create solutions that fill those needs

3. Build innovation teams.

4. Empower "innovations champions" who keep the effort on track

5. Align the entire enterprise around creating value for customers.

The key issue to doing all these: Spend more time with your customers. Get out of your office and get on the road. Throughout history, the most innovative ideas have emerged while trying to create value for customers or while trying to come up with solutions to their problems.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to change the whole company culture to create an innovative company. "There is no need to change the whole company, let go of all previous personnel or take secretive actions nobody understands." Instead, "Build teams and hold frequent brainstorming meetings." We did that every 4-5 weeks with 20-person teams. There were people from every field: technical personnel, law department, marketing specialists, current business associates...

A presentation would be made every 5-20 minutes, and we would run an assessment of four key questions in 10-30 minutes.

- “What does the market need?”

- “What is the method we use to determine this?”

- “What are the benefits and disadvantages of this approach?”

- “How do the benefits compare to those of our competitors?”

These efforts triggered inter-departmental collaboration.

Brainstorming is an excellent method to remove organizational limitations, which represent the biggest barrier to innovation in many companies.

It pays to be relentless while doing this. Edison failed countless times before lighting the light bulb. Each time, he would turn to his colleague and say, “I didn't fail, I've just found something else that doesn't work." Even if it is an error, each try brings you one step closer to success.

Watch the whole video from here

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