Innovation may begin with the ability to see things as they truly are.  Know what I mean?  I'm talking about the ability (maybe even the willingness) to see what customers really think about the way you're doing what you're doing.

Wonder how many of us are open to the truth…that way?

Reading through The Art of Innovation I came across this well-known statement by a big three auto executive in the 1930s:

"It's not that we build such bad cars; it's that they are such lousy customers (p. 40, The Art of Innovation)."

Come to think of it…sounds a lot like the boneheads that flew private jets to Washington D.C. to meet with congress and ask for a bailout.  What hasn't changed?  Their ability to see things as they truly are.

I love Tom Kelley's analysis:

"The annals of business are chock full of executives who didn't understand why people couldn't use their products correctly.  Unless you wield monopoly power, such arrogance is generally not a good customer strategy (The Art of Innovation), p. 40."

So how about your organization?  Are you seeing things the way they really are?  Or are you in an organization still showing up in private jets?

The Ability to See Things as They Truly Are