Where does innovation live?

February 06, 2013

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Wales :flag-wales:


Design & Strategy Director

Where does innovation happen? Is it blue sky idea sessions, is it a war room full of post it notes, is it an epiphany you have in the shower? NO! This is where ideas happen, innovation only occurs once real change has been implemented.

We have sat in on many sessions, been invited to many company off-sites to discuss the new ideas and the new directions that companies can go in. There is always great conversation and many ideas, sometimes a powerpoint deck, sometimes even a road map. This however is not innovation, this is documentation, maybe planning, maybe even a little strategy but not innovation.

Innovation is not something you can simply generate, it can not be abstracted and it is not something on paper. Innovation is the delivery of viable and sustainable solutions that bring value to those who use it. Bill Buxton refers to the long tail of innovation, that all innovative products take 20 years before they become popular. Bill believes we can reduce this latency and so do I, but companies need to be in the game of innovation, not just idea generation.

So many of our clients come to us and ask for innovation, when really what they are looking for is ideas. Innovation is a commitment, a commitment to delivering change and value to your customers. Ideas belong in labs, innovation belongs in the marketplace. Ideas are an easy way to avoid the commitment of delivering innovation.

Big ideas and imagination are fantastic, they pave the way for companies to be successful. But success is not based solely on ideas and imagination, success is based on the delivery of viable and valuable solutions.

Innovation is at the intersection of solving problems and getting shit done!