In 1985, Robert Kelley of Carnegie Mellon University conducted one of the seminal innovation studies by investigating why a small number of top performers drove most of the innovation at Bell Labs. Kelley found that the top performers were characterized by their diverse social networks and active pursuit of new ideas.
Kelley noted in his study of Bell Labs that educational backgrounds, IQ scores, and personality types were fairly evenly divided between the star performers and the rest of the population, leading him to believe that what we now call idea flow could be learned.
At Fullbridge, we take inspiration from the work of Robert Kelley and Bell Labs. We’ve shown that the skills, habits, and behaviors of these star performers are learnable. And that the tools, measures, and learning methodologies available to us today can help us increase the rate of collaboration and thus innovation.
Organizations have five forms of capital, but human capital is at the center of organizational value and innovation. Organizations that lead in innovation have agile people who engage in teams, explore new ideas, and find the patterns of work that shape results—whether in the best sales approaches, optimal product designs, or most efficient management processes.
Disruptive technologies continue to wreak havoc on organizations that fail to innovate and fall behind. Learning cultures create environments where Idea Flow happens—environments where daily problem-solving can occur resulting in higher performance and innovative ideas.