Practice of Innovation

"The way we work is our most important innovation." Observations by Curtis R. Carlson

Creativity and Innovation

The Arts and Entertainment

Les Objects Volants: Boomwhackers

In a recent post stimulated by a conversation with David Nordfors and Pramod Khargonekar and his team at NSF, I suggested a more general definition for innovation:

Innovation is the creation and delivery of surprising new knowledge that has sustainable value for society.

All innovations are surprising and all are, to some degree, sustainable.   Otherwise, as we have discussed at this blog, they are not innovations.

Innovation and Narrative

Are You an Innovator?

Isaac Newton-1689: Godfrey Kneller, Wikipedia

People are often confused about whether they are innovators or not. They might think of Steve Jobs and say to themselves, “That’s not me, I have never done anything remotely that significant.” They question whether they are, or can be, innovators. When asked, most academics say they are definitely not innovators. But they are, or should be. This confusion is destructive because it limits what people believe they can do, and because it discourages the use of processes that would allow them to achieve more.

David Nordfors, who runs the i4j Innovation for Jobs Summit, and I were discussing this. David succinctly defines innovation as “the introduction of a new narrative”, i.e. a new type of story.  He is developing this important idea on his blog and in a book he is writing.  If a product does not come with a compelling new narrative it will likely struggle in the marketplace. That is, developing a compelling narrative is an essential element of the value creation process. (more…)

How Much Better Can We Get?

At Innovation, a Lot

 "Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Tower of Babel, Google Art Project
Pieter Bruegel, Tower of Babel, Google Art Project

Innovation is the primary driver of prosperity, job growth, social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and national security.  Activities that improve the world’s innovative performance are major contributions to society.

Today almost every measure of innovative performance is poor.  My colleague, Len Polizzotto, often points out that more than 80% of new products fail in less than a year. They don’t fail because of poor technology; they fail because no one wants them. (more…)

Practice of Innovation W/S

Focus on the Customer

Lite-On team in Taiwan

This week Len Polizzotto and I held an interactive workshop on the Practice of Innovation in Taipei, Taiwan.  The workshop was with 18 Lite-On executives, led by Alex Huang and Tom Soong. Lite-On is a leading, $7 billion dollar company (In the picture I am in the back with the blue shirt, Len is to my left, Tom is to my right, and Alex is to the right of Tom.). (more…)

Valley of Death

Call It Value Creation342387_1

I was in a meeting with a number of people responsible for R&D and innovation funding. We were discussing how industry and university collaborations might be made more successful. Today most agreed, results are poor. (more…)