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Why the "Pi" in Pi Innovation?

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Pi Represents the Power of Simplicity


The number pi is so much like strategy and innovation: simple in conception, but helping to solve some of the most complex and intractable problems in mathematics.

  • Simplicity: the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Strategy (a plan for the use of available resources to create value that supports a higher mission) and Innovation (creating valuable solutions to problems) are also simple.

  • Fundamental: Pi is one of the fundamental constants of the universe. Strategy and innovation are fundamental to organizational success.

  • Transcendent: Pi is known as a transcendental number (click if you really want to know what a transcendent number is). Similarly, strategic planning and innovation processes transcend industry -- the principles are the same whether your a for-profit or nonprofit, manufacturer or service provider, B2B or B2C. It's the specific conditions that change, not the principled approach.

  • Irrational: Pi is known as an irrational number (again, click if you want to know how an irrational number is defined). An irrational number has a decimal that never ends, and never repeats. Strategic planning and innovation also never end and never repeat, as we live in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) that is constantly changing. Also, much to the surprise of many would-be strategists, strategic planning and innovation are not mere rational exercises with single, rational answers. The emotional responses of all stakeholders -- customers, employees, investors, donors, neighbors, etc. -- MUST be considered and incorporated into any sound strategic plan or innovation.

Pi Visually Captures the Mind of a Strategic Innovator


Have you ever heard of a T-shaped mind? That's one in which someone has a great deal of shallow knowledge in a broad swath of topics (represented by the horizontal line across the top of a T) and deep knowledge in a particular specialty (represented by the vertical "trunk" of a T).

Well, an effective innovator has a Pi-shaped mind:

  • Broad knowledge in many different areas, enabling them to make connections between disparate things

  • Deep technical knowledge in a particular topic, just like a T-shaped person, enabling them to put together or recognize strong and executable solutions to problems; and

  • Deep business knowledge, enabling them to manage within an organization strategically, politically, and economically to actually see the solutions through to execution.

Pi Innovation consists of a network of Pi-shaped people with the capabilities to help you with solving your most challenging problems, inside and outside your organization.


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