Thursday, 21 August 2014

So you want "Innovation" - what do you mean by Innovation?

When someone mentions coaching and there are so many different views expressed about what coaching is that the only rational response is to ask them to say what they mean by "Coaching".
The same holds true for "Innovation". It is always a good idea to first agree what was meant by "Innovation".

For me it also helps to say what it is not.

Again a personal view is that Innovation is not:
  1. Creativity - although it's helpful to have some of that in the mix
  2. Invention - another great thing to have when trying to innovate but not the whole story
  3. Ideas - you can't have innovation without good ideas but the idea isn't all of innovation
  4. A new spin in product or service marketing - no matter how clever!
To have an innovation you have to bring together the ideas, execution and delivery of the value from that novel idea. flying car might be novel ( they did flying cars in the 1950s), it might be different from all other personal aviation solutions before, but if it's not actually on sale and being used by people in numbers greater than the Sinclair C5, in my view it remains an invention and not an innovation.

So much for my view of innovation. There are many different types of innovation, beyond the most commonly used radical or distruptive innovations. This web article lists 15 types and describes them very well from the wonderfully named blog "The Gentle Art of Smart Stealing":

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