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How IBM, Hallmark, and Apple get innovation right—but not for the reasons you might think

As the economic environment stabilizes, there's a temptation to return to business as usual. And although much about the future of the economy is uncertain, I can say with some confidence that a return to the recent status quo would be a colossal mistake.

GE (GE) Chairman Jeffrey Immelt said it best in a speech he gave to the Business for Social Responsibility conference in November 2008. "This economic crisis doesn't represent a cycle. It represents a reset. It's an emotional, social, economic reset. People who understand that will prosper. Those who don't will be left behind." Immelt's remarks constitute nothing less than a challenge to his peers: Reinvent your business, or go home. Organizations that wait for solutions to fall from the sky fully formed will be the next to fall. Even a casual observer can see that the challenges facing GE are an object lesson for the rest of us.

How do you navigate an enterprise through uncertain times? By getting back to fundamentals. That goes for innovation, too, which doesn't mean novelty for novelty's sake. Innovation is about growth, and growth takes empathy, creativity, and executionEmpathy, on an organizational scale, is a shared intuition for what people outside the company really need and value. Creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas for products, services, and businesses that are different and distinct. And execution is the art of getting things done. These aren't feel-good ideas for easy times. They're the secret to surviving a storm.

To read the full, original article click on this link: The Fundamentals of Innovation - BusinessWeek

Author: Dev Patnaik