Louis Nastro provides executive leadership in the aerospace/navigation and management consulting industries.  His specialties include business restructuring, international business management and business development in advanced technology market segments.

Louis is member of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Boardroom Metrics Accomplished Executive.

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Many talk about it, some even think they are gurus at it, but how many companies can truly attribute sustained, substantial business growth to innovative thinking and excellent execution of bright ideas?  Very few.

Is your firm an innovator?

To find out, try reading the work of Clay Christensen (Author of The Innovator’s Dilemma).  In this age of political correctness and corporate elite passing off incremental product improvements as true innovation, Christensen sets the record straight in identifying clear attributes of what sets individuals apart who can truly innovate.

First and foremost innovators constantly question the norm and are excellent and piecing together disparate pieces of information from sometimes from totally unrelated areas to glean truly revolutionary insights.  Second, their informed intuition comes from being an expert in a certain area and breadth in several others.  Third, innovators are born not made and these are the types of individuals who have that innate ability to dig deeper and learn more to connect the dots that others have not.

A key question for any organization is whether it has the right people – whether it has skilled innovators.  Many times we see pitches for ‘great ideas’ that have the fundamentals totally wrong. Why? What is missing?

Frequently what’s missing is solid domain expertise and the fundamental ability to understand from the pitch what specific product attributes make this a real winner and where the insights for those product attributes came from.

Too many times, leaders do not want the details. Executive Teams see many pitches and often fixate on what will generate the most return in the short run rather than looking at what represents the truest form of innovation for the long term

Fixating on the IRR from one project versus another IS NOT ENOUGH.

So. Challenge yourself next time someone wants funding for the next big idea.  Look for the primary research and ask yourself “is the person in front of you qualified to draw inferences from the evidence presented?”  Sometimes what may be misconstrued as the most far-fetched pitch may be the one that truly generates the most return.