Sunkwork Successes Mean Performance Pre-Prep
Design is Future(s), Thinking is Present(s), and Imagining is not Innovating but Skunkwork(s) is where it all comes together. But how?
With statistically backed data that squarely puts most breakthroughs in the range of ” impossible ” by any standard stretch of analysis, previous investigations into what makes the most dangerous and powerful shifts in new product development efforts shows that that more than 60% of NPD efforts ( from a large organization format ) achieved usability success. Where this may seem interesting and plausible ( the assumption is once something gets into the hands of large organization they key is to make it work and that’s the job of corporations ) in terms of launch success, this is not the case with innovation hunting from raw internal ideation – blank paper start points.
Further investigations ( and particularly from blank paper to realty efforts ) show numbers where the above were incredibly progressive, vs where almost 90% of raw idea efforts ( from blank paper states ) failed. How can this be the case ? Ideas are not innovations and where organizations exist to use valuable new technology are seldom in a true R&D mode. Organizations that are in a purchase mode ( and why in fact they are able to get to the size that they do ) is where buy is preferred to build. This then pushes ” success ” numbers to the point where of the 10% making it off the blank paper drawing board means accurate ” innovation ” numers ended up where 3% ( after the initial 10 % first cut ) typically make it out of the gauntlet to next stages and where then only 2% made it to the 1% of launch phase. From here it is where .3% from a blank paper start saw “success” and usability and where blatant championing efforts are taking place. With a 3000:1 success rate, the ant looking at the mountain top is an apt metaphor to put it mildly, but, that does not however assume that of the 0.3% there aren’t ways to blaze the path in specialized skunkwork successes.
Digging into ” Individual Differences, Environmental Scanning, Innovation Framing, and Champion Behavior: Key Predictors of Project Performance “ we see how commonly held beliefs of championing behaviors, being risk-averse, and other factors are actually the complete opposite of conventional thought, and, where individual locus of control capabilities was one of the strongest factors for success. Thus the ” who you know ” factor is only one small effort in a well rounded capability of the MacGyver Mindset necessary for what can’t be done, to, in fact what can be done and thus pushing innovation possibilities forward. More interestingly we see that ( internal ” air support ” ) champions associated with advanced R&D efforts are often comfortably working in equivocal ( situations having two or more opposing meanings, or confusing to be understood paths to action ) scenarios and where furthermore these R&D Skunkwork champions assign little value to non-linear outcome fears. In particular ( and which is antithetical to military organizations ) is that threat based innovation efforts are not easily correlated with success, rather, in large complex organization ( but not out in the jungle of the real world ) this highly excludes inclusion with lower level support: no one likes to take a risk, with the ” just enough rope ” model squarely attached to those that do take the risk. Fear of Failing is a real and non-tacit predictor of what is accepted as something that ” can’t be done ” and thus identifying personnnel roadblocks to radical growth.
Digging deeper we also see how R&D industry break downs surrounding the innovation space occur: the muddling of NPD v.s. Innovation is identifiable where the idea of ” the product had a development cycle of 1.5 to 3yrs ” means these are not the numbers of innovation. These are the numbers of new product development. Leveraging this dichotomy we do see where the broad and necessary vision of pre-prep champions ( where and how an X shifts an entire way of doing something ) is articulated as usability across multiple areas ( where the power in innovation lies ) and where by individuals or groups, it is that environmental scanning and interaction that pushes the boundaries of the X that is focused on, thus, offsetting what already exists. Constant environmental scanning, making leaps of possible future uses ( and the people involved in that ) is one of the key factors of skunkworks successes.
Where Skunkworks capabilities have had some of their most potent edge influence, is in the perceived interest of ground swells to later NPD success via environmental scanning ( inward facing efforts to seek input ) where the more casual collaborators feel heard and sought out, the more the notion is that there is validity, regardless of ( and inversely ” valuable ” to a true innovation success ) when ” document scanning ” or looking for patterns in what is produced by those that wish to ” be heard ” takes place. Where it is often seen that reading documents is percieved as not being an effective mechanism for championing behavior, that is where the full data can lay re: what is possible / what is able to be integrated into organizations. Thus this tacit group think effort becomes a powerful tool, regardless of the negative aspects of such focus and a desire to look ( and directly deal with ) what is happening outside the organism / organization. Increasing the possible confusion in this seemingly counter-intuitive set of results, and from numerous areas of research conducted on this topic, what becomes even more troubling, is that the idea of external threats ( those moving faster, being left behind, etc., ) perpetuates the possible innovation performance pre-prep / idea that a horse ( a truly innovative breakthrough effort ) will be spooked is where, often, many do not want to be involved in such activities. It is therefore the MacGyver mindset that persists in the face of opposition that seems to have the greatest impact in skunkwork success and innovation championing activities.
In conjunction with even more counter intuitive statistical evidence is the idea that external volatility ( the sign of typically, a threat based competition centric landscape ) provides is a high value capability for pronounced radical efforts for innovation usefulness and therefore a capability to find pockets of ” unknown ” where skunkworks singularities can create radical, re-imaginations of possible new capabilities and especially when combined with Ai, Design efforts, and where, if leveraged correctly can lead to usability not envisioned in previous iterations and even lateral capabilities left unchecked in earlier scannings. In demonstrating impossible convictions in the ( possible ) breakthrough at hand, and thus, a future innovation to be designed and deployed where none had existed before ; finding unseen ways to create previously underrepresented support structures ; and persisting in the face of abject adversity and even absurdity, skunkwork efforts hold radical capabilities that if left undeveloped only further eliminate possibilities for future functionalities.