Gems from Scott Berkun, Author of “The Myths of Innovation”

Extracts from Always on interview with Scott Berkun and Always On

Is there such a thing as a BFO?

An Epiphany, a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious), a hunch, an instinctive sense is generally the tip of an iceberg and comes from many years of accumulated knowledge stored in “the adaptive unconscious”

What prevents Innovators from Commercialising their Innovations?

Commercialising an Innovation generally has little to do with the skills of the Innovator/Entrepeneur . They have to spend more time persuading and convincing others for emotional, financial, or intellectual support, as they do inventing, and many don’t have the skills or emotional endurance for it. The skills for Commercialising are different to the skills of Innovation.

Where do Ideas Come From?

ideas are combinations of other ideas. People who earn the label “creative” are really just people who come up with more combinations of ideas, find interesting ones faster, and are willing to try them out

Is Innovation Structured?

Innovation does not generally follow a straight line. Innovators/Entrepeneurs generally work in chaos, uncertainty with a feeling the odds are against them (club terror!!).

Why do innovators face rejection and negativity?

People are threatened by Change, and it takes much convincing and copelling arguments to get people to change their behaviour.

As a Venture Capitalist/Investor – how do you invest in Innovation?

Invest in People more than ideas or business plans: A great entrepreneur who won’t give up and will keep growing and learning is gold. Very few entrepreneurs have had any real success the first few times out—3M, Ford, Flickr were all second or third efforts.
Adopt a portfolio approach, knowing most ventures fail. Invest based on a spectrum of risk (e.g. 1/3 very high risk, 1/3 high risk, 1/3 moderate risk). Sometimes seemingly small, low risk/reward innovations have big impacts and returns, where large investments fail miserably.

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