Innovation Strategy

By Ryan W. Quinn

So far this week, I have given an example of extraordinary accomplishment using an unusual strategy, explained how to get ideas for alternative strategies, and suggested that when we want to be externally open, we should come up with one more strategy than is easy to come up with. One question that people may wonder, however, is “Why should I come up with multiple strategies if I’m confident that the one I have will work?”

The Advantages of Multiple Strategies

The truth is that multiple strategies are not always needed. Particularly in simple or repetitive situations, there is little need for multiple strategies. In cases like these, it is clearly more efficient to just use the one you are confident will work.

Also, I have given at least three reasons so far this week as to why multiple strategies might be needed. For example, multiple strategies are usually needed when

  • an externally open mindset is what is needed, not the strategies themselves, per se
  • one strategy isn’t working
  • the situation seems impossible

Here’s another reason: Innovation. We have discussed the importance of innovative strategies for organizations before. Innovative strategies also matter, however, for the learning, growth, and success of individuals. And innovation, scholars have shown, is a process of recombination.

If innovation is a process of recombination, then you cannot innovate if you come up with only one strategy. If there is only one strategy, there is nothing to recombine. Making yourself come up with multiple competitive strategies is a key to personal growth as well as organizational growth.