From The Milwaukee Business Journal
Published August 1, 2014
Over the past few years, the nebulous term “innovation” has emerged as the corporate buzzword du jour.
In a global, technology-driven economy, the thinking goes, everything moves faster. The massive, Fortune 500 corporations of the past must become more nimble, responsive and creative or risk extinction.
The Milwaukee area boasts many examples of innovation in action: GE Healthcare in Waukesha, Wauwatosa’s Briggs & Stratton Corp., Harley-Davidson Inc. and ManpowerGroup in Milwaukee. Yet many other companies talk the talk, but find themselves stumbling when it comes to walking the walk.
It’s in part because true innovation can make companies feel vulnerable. It necessitates breaking down walls, looking beyond the present and — most frighteningly — introducing a certain amount of risk.
Nonetheless, the buzzword is so pervasive because of the urgency surrounding it.
“Competition is so different today than it was 10, 15, even five years ago. The world is moving so much faster today,” said Briggs & Stratton chairman, president and CEO Todd Teske [also co-chair of the GMC's Innovation in Milwaukee initiative]. “There’s a risk in doing nothing, and that’s the risk I think is really bad — if you do nothing and expect everything to stay the same.”
Ask six different people, and in all likelihood you’ll get six different definitions of “innovation.”
The crux of it is an idea that has legs. An invention or new approach that isn’t just good in its own right, but can be scaled and/or commercialized. Generating those good ideas and knowing what to do with them is the challenge dogging big companies pivoting to face a global, digitally driven market.
For the full article, including more quotes from Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) co-chairs Todd Teske, Jonas Prising and Michael Lovell, please click here.