Corporate Innovation – The Science of Luck

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”― Niels Bohr In my previous role leading front end innovation in a large company, I routinely gave talks to corporate groups about innovation not only as a practice, but also a theory, a methodology, and a mindset. Being that this company is perennially ranked as one of the most innovative companies in…

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Augmenting Innovation Decisions With Data Science

As a venture capitalist/data scientist, I’ve spent over a decade arguing that other venture capitalists and innovators can improve their decision making (a lot) through data science.  While the idea seems like a no-brainer today, 11 years ago it was heresy. Reactions to my work were historically hostile and emotional, and that’s putting it politely.  Words like “data science” and…

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Measuring Innovation: The Blind Spot

I was recently at an event where executives from the world’s biggest companies spent hours griping about innovation.  They knew innovation was important, but bemoaned its aversion to hard metrics.  In other words, everyone wanted to better measure, quantify and improve their innovation outputs, but nobody knew how. Some folks believe innovation can’t, or shouldn’t, be measured.  They say things…

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Quant innovation and the 5 stages of grief

If you’re reading this, you probably know I use data and statistics to try and predict if innovations will survive or fail. It’s a world of probabilities, like what you’d find in any Wall Street firm or insurance company. In those cases you’d be shocked if an analyst or actuary wasn’t doing the math. Yet for some reason, using math…

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On Creativity (vs mechanical innovation tools)

Creativity.  It’s why people become innovators in the first place.  Innovation has always been a creative process, which is the source of its magic. Despite the emphasis on creativity and intangibles, there are obvious benefits in using mechanical tools (like algorithms, statistics and analytics) to guide innovation and venture capital.  For example, it could be great to calculate an innovation’s…

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