25 ways of thinking about ‘innovation’

by | May 13, 2013

How would you sum up ‘innovation’ in one sentence?

That was the question Hutch Carpenter asked his LinkedIn network.

As the answers rolled in, Carpenter realised innovation can mean different things to different people. The exercise challenged his own meaning of the word and helped to shed light on the ways people talk about innovation.

Selecting 25 responses, Carpenter grouped them into five themes and created a mind map to help chart their course.

Innovation

Business model

The ability of innovation to change the landscape in businesses and markets.

  • A patentable solution that changes the basis of business for that specific industry.
  • Radical innovation: A new product or process that replaces the former method or product and renders it obsolete.
  • Reorganisation of particles with new parts that turn value to new opportunities.

Applied invention

An invention becomes innovation when it is useful to others.

  • “Creativity is when you use money to get ideas. Innovation is when you use ideas to make money.”
  • Transforming the seeds of invention in to solutions considered superior to other options.
  • Ideas that filter through the business model and become widely accepted.
  • Ideation is applied knowledge. Creativity is applied ideation. Invention is applied creativity. Innovation is successful commercialisation of radical invention.
  • Creativity is imagination in focus. Innovation is creativity’s bottom line. Enterprise is the meeting of innovation and ability. Entrepreneurship is the vehicle combined of all the above fuelled by passion.

Creativity

A reflection of our personal relationship with innovation.

  • A thin line connecting the gift, the servant and the server: the intuitive, the rational and the market.
  • Value + creativity + execution = innovation.
  • Challenging mainstream thinking and behaviour.
  • Innovation is seeing things differently. Implemented innovation is getting others to see things differently too.
  • “Artistic way” stands for the balanced or proportioned, which needs creative thinking.

Problem solving

Addressing issues and challenges.

  • “Finding newer and better bottles to recycle the old wine.”
  • When a new approach is applied to an old problem.
  • The creation of answers to questions with opposing requirements.

Unmet user needs

“Users” may refer to clients as well as other stakeholders.

  • The organisation-wide process of finding and profitably serving unmet needs.
  • New products or services forged from existing resources that meet a need in the market.
  • Adding tangible value for users and developers using existing or unnoticed resources.
  • Something used by some, rejected by many, but eventually accepted by all.
  • An invention or intervention with true value, supported by the powers that be, with benefits for members of the wider community brought to life from the experiences of different people across related sectors.
  • “A new match between a need and a solution.”
  • Exemplary delivery to the most important client, all the time, every time.
  • A change in a product, service or model that meaningfully benefits a large number of stakeholders.

Article and mind map can be found here.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

View All Posts

Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

Need help to get your business to the next level?

More related articles on innovation

Share This