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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

While I haven’t been posting at all, I have kept up on my reading. This post by Dave Pollard is worth noting.

Dave has an incredible capacity for synthesis and generating copious insights across a wide range of areas. The end result is either succinct distillations of current understanding or a hugely encompassing grab at new learning. Either way: almost always valuable.

Dave’s asked for a response and I’ll start at a higher level and beyond the scope of Dave’s post: Knowing where innovation comes from is only as valuable as your ability and intention to execute on it. In all the hubbub around creativity and innovation I have yet to find the requisite commitment to execution. We’re mad for new and stagnant on the response.

That said, those interested in harvesting innovation and related insights need something like Dave’s matrix of inputs. Dave’s done something very helpful when he splits strategic and tactical sources. Too often organizations confuse the two and it’s great that the clarity is deliberately laid out first thing.

Perhaps missing from the matrix are three important sources: internal crazies, internal hackers, and external hackers. Of course these terms don’t fit with Dave’s sober classifications but they’re key inputs to innovation. And I recognize that Dave may have looked at these sources and caught them inside of other categories but in an effort to be succinct didn’t acknowledge them explicitly.

Internal crazies are those folks that well understand the interests of their organizations and are cerebrally free enough to experiment with those purposes. These people are generally useless in a room full of decision makers but someone savvy enough to translate their ethereal jaunts into new products is usually very thankful for their rants.

Internal hackers are those that deliver a high quality company product despite the encumberances of the company’s process. Inside their personal process are hacks, work-arounds, and plug-ins that can be a valuable source of innovation. This might be caught up in Dave’s category of “Product Innovations” but I’ll leave it to him to flesh out.

Similarly, hackers that use the company’s products in alternate ways are a pool of insights. These people either make up for deficiencies in the products with band-aid solutions or use the product in ways it was never intended to be employed. Some of the most important innovations have come via this source.

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