Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Innovation Trend

This morning, I was captivated by Mike Klein's contribution to the Wisconsin Technology Network.

Mike discusses the missing link in "innovation," which is a trend and buzzword of the moment. Want proof? Check out the "innovate" or some play on the word used as a slogan used by HP, 3M, and IBM, for instance.

Anyway, with the proliferation of innovation, there has been a rise in the number of innovation gurus. While a fascinating concept, I can't help but wonder how one becomes an innovation guru (there is no certification process - yet).

Mike distinguishes between invention and innovation as the difference between an idea and a process and I think that he is right on the ball. I do believe that innovation is the way to productivity and the solution to many of the world's problems. I do not, however, believe that teaching teams how to brainstorm solutions is going to be the saving grace.


Instead, companies must embrace a more holistic process of innovation, looking at it not just as a slogan for marketing purposes or to drive brainstorming, but training talent to foster the movement of ideas to market. This includes the movement of revolutionary, risky ideas to market, which may be a difficult task for established corporations (then again, they may be the only ones who can afford to move such innovations to market).


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