Apr 3, 2007

Forget, borrow,learn

Forget, borrow,learn
Tuck School's Dr. Vijay Govindarajan, a world authority on innovation, has been touting what seems an epistemic paradox - forget,borrow and learn.

New innovations, be it creativity innovations, technology innovations, service innovation or inventions should first learn to forget as, forgetting is a prerequisite for learning.

Innovation, according to him is an experiment-and –learn process. He says that “When a company clings to established mindsets and assumptions—when it fails to forget—it cannot learn” and as a result fail in their innovations.

Take his case study of the New York Times attempts to transform itself from a traditional newspaper to its now successful online version. Its success was ensured when it was spun off and treated as a new entity.

Dr. Vijay Govindarajan, says there are lessons one can learn from the New York Times story.

“What NewCo must forget and learn are mindsets, assumptions and decision biases. On the other hand, what NewCo borrows is assets with concrete value – such as brands, manufacturing capacity, sales relationships or technical expertise.”

To be innovative an organisation should weigh what should be forgotten,learned and borrowed.