About Credible Innovation

Steffen looking over shoulder at camera while leaning on railing overlooking park and industrial landscape
Steffen Meyer | Photo by Beth Varro. Thanks Beth!

Hi, I'm Steffen. Thanks for being here!

I offer tools, thoughts, and research for innovation practitioners, mainly those in existing organizations ("corporate innovation" or "intrapreneurship"), as opposed to startups.

For the most part, what I write aims at people working full-time in the innovation teams of organizations and others who are thoroughly familiar with the tools of modern innovation work, e.g., with toolkits like Human-centered Design, Lean Startup, Product-led Growth, Agile, and the like.

Even among those innovation practitioners, the people who may most benefit from this content are those experts who have mastered all the standard toolkits and still want to get better because they believe that something about those toolkits is not yet good enough.

But even if that doesn't describe you, don't worry. Over time, I will add crash-course-style introductory content that quickly bridges gaps for newcomers and points you to people and resources who offer more about those topics. In the end, none of this is rocket science. As long as you care and want to learn about this, you certainly can, and you can use all I have to offer in your daily work even if you aren't an expert at the core toolkits of our craft yet. There's already enough worry in the world. Don't add to it by doubting yourself.

Let's start with thanks

Before we get to Credible Innovation, a big thank you to the wonderful people who made it possible!

Much of what I know and value, I learned from them. They are the ones you should actually know and follow!

In the age of AI, why still bother creating content?

Some stark realities make Credible Innovation a must-do to me:

1: Innovation must succeed. The world must become much better. We should know how to achieve that

2: Innovation must succeed in existing organizations. We can't and shouldn't outsource it all to startups.

3: We haven't figured out how to innovate well yet. Innovation theater is still a massive problem (even in startups). We have serious work left!

4: There are no silver bullets. All the tools in the world won't make you succeed because it's not a methodology problem. It's a human problem.

5: The human problems are what wreak the most havoc, even for great teams. So many topics are barely on teams' attention "radar." And even if they are, there appear to be precious few tools and methods for dealing with those issues.

Credible Innovation rests on a startling finding

I base my work on an unorthodox (even anti-orthodox?) belief that hit me over the head over and over again over years of hands-on work across a dozen industries, until I finally was ready to acknowledge it, despite its inconvenient implications:

Innovation is ultimately an attempt to change human systems, not a craft, let alone some process brimming with canvases, tickets, MVPs, and product-market fit. It's a system-level outcome, not a process.
– Steffen Meyer

Credible Innovation's goal: To help corporate innovation mature into a craft respected by all

Or, to put in "HMW" form: How might innovation leaders earn secure, valued roles and impact for their teams in their organization? (We sure aren’t there yet.)

I chase for answers along three dimensions:

  • Excellence: HMW make sure that teams do their craft work at a really-truly excellent level, worthy of anyone's respect?
  • Realism: HMW make innovation succeed in the real world, focusing on what it truly takes, rather than just what's "cool?”
  • Leadership: HMW set leaders up to help their teams succeed, closing the gaping void in context-appropriate guidance for innovation team leaders?

Obviously, the site will unfold over time. Can't do it all at once.

But you can already see where I'm heading with this at this blog's "read me" page, where you'll find the core Credible Innovation framework and links to posts that make for good introductions to the topic.

Or, if you really want to nerd out on this topic, see my high-level research agenda.

A word about Steffen

In my day job, I run an independent innovation advisory firm–Custom Lightning. Contact me there or by email via hi[at]customlightning.com to work with me.

You can find the backstory about my work in an interview with Voyage Minnesota magazine.

The content I share here emerged from (among other things):

  • Co-founding 3 innovation teams and labs in-house at U.S. retailer Target
  • Working on multiple "downstream" teams that actually have to deal with innovators' output and make it work
  • Being responsible for creating business cases that secured substantial funds for total company reinvention
  • 6+ years of consulting with innovators across 12+ industries, ranging from media to medical devices and from early startups to global industry leaders
  • Serving as fractional COO of a great startup. More to come once we exit stealth mode!

Subscribe! It's free and fun!

This is still a very new effort. But just you wait for the dreams I have for it to spring to life. Be part of it as emerges from humble beginnings!

So sign up if you like what you see so far or believe in what it can become!

Signing up gets you full access to the site's thoughts, tools, and research, rather than just previews.

In short: Your subscription is a vote that Credible Innovation should exist! Should continue to exist! Should become a better version of itself! Thank you!

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BTW, start your own thing!

You, too, have awesome ideas and stories to share with the world. Publish them!