Bending Reality

Walter Isaacson articulated how the concept of ‘bending reality’ helped Steve Jobs push for breakthrough innovations at Apple. This approach is also sometimes covered through the concept of stretch goals.

‘Bending reality’ is a key innovation leadership trait and helps innovators push for breakthrough performance targets. However, stretching organizations, teams or individuals beyond what they think is possible requires great leadership strategies.

Here are a few questions that can help you and your teams succeed in the reality bending process:

• Are you setting stretch goals in areas where you can potentially create Blue Ocean or a leap in customer and business value?

• Have you decided how much time and resources you are willing to invest in achieving a desired breakthrough innovation?

• Is your creative or research process iterative and time paced, where you can proactively decide how much longer and further to push? Maybe more importantly, how and when to cut your losses?

• Is there a defined conceptual innovation metric that leaders and team members can use to gauge innovation success? Will success be clearly defined and celebrated?

Stretching beyond what one thinks is possible is a necessary process to achieve breakthrough innovations. However, at times it is important to adjust your innovation strategy to achieve the breakthrough you seek.