Thursday, March 18, 2010

Innovation that Matters

I found this article on the evolving nature of innovation by Nicholas M. Donofrio quite interesting. Here are some key highlights.... 

The very nature of innovation is changing. Today, the innovation that matters is not the latest result of Moore's Law, or doubling RAM, or tripling pixels. Those things still matter, but they matter much, much less.

The innovation that matters now—the innovation that we're all waiting for, even if we don't know it—is the one that unlocks the hidden value that exists at the intersection of deep knowledge of a problem and intimate knowledge of a market, combined with your knowledge, your technology, and your capability … whoever you are, whatever you can do, whatever you bring to the table.

Yet too many people still think of innovation solely in terms of a wholly new product or technological breakthrough. But this is limiting, and it is false. Innovations can arise from fresh thinking in any number of areas: from product to service to process to business model. Michael Dell built a Fortune 500 company by changing the way computers are built and sold—but not changing anything about the device itself.

The good news for innovators and potential innovators is that, given the incredible complexity and diversity of the world today, opportunities for innovation abound. As confused as you think the world is, it's great for innovators. There are so many problems—some known and some yet to come to light—that opportunities for innovation will never run out. But we have to take a new approach: start from the problem, not the solution. That is, we can no longer say to ourselves "The end product is 5 GHz" (or whatever). Rather, we must ask ourselves "What needs to change?" and then—and only then—start thinking about how to change it. The question of what specific invention or product or innovation to pursue comes after that.
To read the full article click here.

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