What does bad innovation look like?

“If we’d tried to invent it, it wouldn’t have been anything like as good!” [on the invention of SMS]


So joked an Acision engineer I worked with last week. Believe me this guy was smart so, this was more than a humorous throw-away.

Spencer gets Mike close to real tears.  Oh yes!

Spencer gets Mike close to real tears. Oh yes!

When I describe How NOT 2 to friends it sounds like a similarly goofy accident. Mike and I made an improvised film in my kitchen with a Flip video camera propped up against a pile of washing, running what we thought was the “worst ever” performance appraisal.

What happened next was quite a surprise…50,000 hits on YouTube, and feedback from around the world on how much impact our little vignette was having (and how many people had been in that very same situation)!

But of course, like SMS (although not quite as big just yet!), whilst “lucky”, this was no accident, or should that be the other way around?

Actually, Mike has been doing these sort of “guerilla videos” for some time and we have both pushed continuously to shake up the way corporate training works. Why then has this taken off now?

At How NOT 2 we like the thoughts of Steve Johnson in his work on Creativity. In this short summary video  he describes the following 3 concepts:

The “slow hunch” – great ideas are usually the result of years of thought and experiment, not mere flashes of inspiration

“Collision” – big ideas often come as a result of smaller ones coming together – humour, video, corporate training, the internet

Increases in connectivity – the ease with which people can build on existing ideas.


We think all 3 apply in our case and indeed are talking with a number of people right now who have “seen our idea and raised us”, suggesting yet more innovative ways our content and concept can be applied.

So, we haven’t done a “How Not 2” on innovation yet but we think it would have to include:

  • If you want to have an innovative idea, hurry up!


  • Your idea is brilliant, nothing else can make it any better!


  • If you have a good idea, protect it, keep it safe, tell no one!

As Mr Johnson concludes, “chance favours the connected mind” so please get in touch!



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