Innovation & Process Management

I don’t mean to go on a rant, but…

I am sure you have read/seen it, companies touting how their products help you innovate.  It is one of the hot buzzwords.

Webster defines innovation as the introduction of something new.

Companies introduce something new every day.  Would you consider all of those ‘new’ things innovative?  No, only a few of these new things are considered innovative.

Synonyms of innovation include: invention, brainchild, creation and wrinkle.  Not all inventions are innovative.  They could be a brainchild or a wrinkle; they do qualify as a creation, but are they innovations?

The real meaning of innovation

We have to get to the implied meaning of the word – When we think of innovative we think of things like:  the telephone, the television, Color TV, iPod, iPad, iPhone, HDTV’s, etc.  Why do we think ‘innovative’ when it comes to these products?  Certainly these qualify as the introduction of something new, but they also have ‘wide’ acceptance that this ‘new’ thing is ‘cool’.

Cool has different meanings to different people, but no matter the meaning the iPhone qualifies as ‘cool’.  So, did the others.

So, if you think about it, companies can’t innovate.  The results of their new product offering may well be innovative only if they have ‘wide’ acceptance that their new product is cool – otherwise, they have only introduced something new.

Adding Process

You can certainly put a process in place to stimulate the introduction of something new.  But, you can’t put a process in place to be innovative because you have no control over whether your ‘something new’ will get wide acceptance that it is actually ‘cool’.  So, it is time for marketers to come up with ‘something new’.

But, that is just my opinion and I could be wrong.

Your Thoughts…

Why is your take on innovation?

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2 thoughts on “Innovation & Process Management

  1. Scott. there are many levels of innovation. And no, the one thing you cannot do is a process in place for innovation. Most of Steve Jobs ‘innovations’ was not really that new, all he did was to put the user first and he recombined a lot of existing things in new ways. In this way it was still innovative to do so.

    Innovation requires social networking both in the invention side and on the adoption side. And that is the real innovation that businesses will have to go through. The success of Apple is mostly the social network of developers and consumers that it empowered through the Appstore. That was the real innovation. It does involve a few processes on the deployment side, but none on the side of innovation. There it just created the opportunity.

    That is the real lesson to learn for business: Build technology that empowers humans and creates opportunity. That comes before cost savings and optimizations!

    • My point on innovation is that the ‘public’ won’t see it as innovative unless they think it is cool. Putting the user first and recombining existing things wouldn’t have been considered innovative if the ‘public’ didn’t think it was cool.

      Microsoft combines things all the time, but they are not considered innovative. [Even though innovation means introducing something new]

      If we could accurately predict what the ‘public’ sees as cool maybe we could create an environment that could produce innovative products…

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