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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

At least two things are true of me. One, I love coffee. Two, I’m a fiddler. Not the musical kind, the annoying kind. Always jigging around, tapping, rattling, bouncing, swaying – annoying.

Being a big fan of experiments, I started one on myself. I hypothesized that my fiddling is positively related to my coffee consumption. If I stopped drinking coffee, would the fiddling stop?

Nearly one month later – no. Foot is impatiently tapping a staccato rhythm on the floor as I type. What did stop is blogging.

Each morning around 5:30 I wake up, just for a few minutes. In those minutes there is an opportunity – get up or keep sleeping. When I was drinking coffee, the idea of a tall cup of French-pressed, Starbucks bold-roast Vienna coffee was enough to lug myself out of bed.

When I get up at 5:30, there’s not a lot to do, so I read. When I read, I learn. When I learn, I innovate. When I innovate, I blog. Us economists call these positive externalities. By doing one thing, there is other unintended results that effect more than the owner of the action. Included in this group is second-hand smoke, loud music, and nuclear bombs.

So, no coffee leads to a negative externality: no blogging. I just keep sleeping.

Noting this relationship, I started thinking of the disciplines of innovation. To get started I search for this phrase on Google. Did you know the phrase “disciplines of innovation” has only 37 hits? But “discipline of innovation” has 1,900. One “s” and a difference of 1,873 results. Why?

What’s the difference? Well, maybe its purely semantics (or semantic), but I think it depends on whether you see innovation as a destination or a journey. If innovation is a destination, then you want to know where it is. If innovation is journey, you want to know how to get started. If a discipline helps you get to a destination, disciplines help you undertake a journey.

Peter Drucker thinks innovation is a destination. He says three ingredients that make up the discipline of innovation. First, focusing on the mission, he believes that one must have a definitive goal or purpose. Second, defining significant results, or otherwise expressing what is believed to be the anticipated end result. Third, performing rigorous assessments based on the tasks that are being performed while trying to adhere to the mission.

I don’t think Drucker’s wrong. I do think there is value to looking at innovation as a journey though.

Earlier this year I met David Ulrich. He was talking about his new work on capitalizing on capabilities. To do that, he prescribed some disciplines. By committing to a set of disciplines organisations can capture some of the intangible aspects of knowledge, experience, and social networks to help capitalize on their capabilities.

Ulrich believes capitalizing on capabilities is a journey. Why not look at innovation the same way?

So, what might be the disciplines of innovation? Here, I’ll get the list started:

    1. Drink coffee


Hey Jer..why not just drink decaf…innovation has to be a journey..otherwise it is just another tick on the wall of life..journeys are full of twists and turns..I was thinking of our drive to florida this past spring..neat things I saw and thought about along cracker barrel way…I agree innovation is both.one without the other is hollow ..kind of like decaff coffee