Baldock’s Rules


How Gibbs Would Innovate

A lot of people, myself included, enjoy watching NCIS a long running American drama about the US Navy Criminal Investigation Service. Its central character is a man referred to solely by his last name – Gibbs. He rules the NCIS roost and does so by ensuring all of his subordinates run investigations by his rules, known not surprisingly as “Gibbs’ Rules”.

There are quite a few of these rules (at least 18!). I started to wonder the other day, what rules would Gibbs establish if he led the innovation function within the Navy. Personally I think 18 rules is far too many so I’ve put together my top ten rules. In honour of Gibbs I will make his rule number 18 my rule number 1!

So here they are:

  1. Ask for forgiveness and not permission
  2. Fail fast but
  3. Protect your innovators
  4. Spend as little time and money as you can
  5. Deadlines forces creativity
  6. Nothing succeeds like success
  1. Approach innovation on a top-down basis; focus on problems, challenges and opportunities and not random ideas
  2. It’s not those with the best ideas that succeed…it’s those that implement them
  3. Focus more effort on evolution (incremental innovation) than revolution (game changing innovation)
  4. Ensure your teams are divergent and convergent
Let me know what you think, or if you would like me to expand any of my rules. innovation@clustre.net
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