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The discontinuous nature of innovation

2014 March 13

Making sense of the field of innovation is not simple. This is partly because of the range of aspects of innovation that are frequently discussed.

In this interview with Brightidea, the leading provider of innovation management systems, Keith McConnell, of Sara Lee, makes a distinction between innovation and “continuous improvement” in the first 25 seconds, when he says:

“My role is in continuous improvement. And my job is to actually improve the innovation process. So it is both continuous improvement as well as innovation.”

Keith McConnell [Sara Lee] from Brightidea on Vimeo.

#innochat today

Today (13 March 2014), during #innochat, this interesting aspect of innovation is proposed as the starting point for a discussion of the relationship between innovation and kaizen, which is often described as the pursuit of “continuous improvement“. The discussion will be led by our guest Elli St.George Godfrey (@3keyscoach).

To compare and contrast the two concepts, we are taking innovation to mean the opposite, that is: “discontinuous improvement“. Many other definitions of innovation can be found; however, this one is succinct and addresses both the nature of an innovation and the purpose of innovation activities.

The framing post for today’s #innochat describes the distinction in more detail, as well as the background to the chat and the questions posed. Afterwards, we will add a transcript of the chat at the end of that post.

Hopefully, this will provide some additional guidance in understanding the field of innovation, particularly its discontinuous nature.

#innochat takes place on Twitter every Thursday at noon Eastern local time.

Some things work now

2014 January 6
20140106-090248.jpg

It’s 2014!

Some things still work
(and some things don’t work any longer)

Some things work now
(and some things don’t work yet)

You choose.

Gordon Edge, remembering a great innovator and leader

2013 October 16

Gordon Edge

It was with great sadness that I learned of the recent death of Gordon Edge. These are some of my memories of a great technology innovator and business leader.

For a period of almost three years, during the 1980s, I was privileged to work at PA Technology, near Cambridge. This was a great place to be and formed part of what became known as the “Cambridge Phenomenon”.

Populated by a bunch of bright mavericks, it was led by its founder and chief maverick, Gordon Edge. Dressed immaculately, he spoke quietly, using few words, and what words!

Read more…

Tesla in Texas: two innovations interacting?

2013 August 14

Selling innovative products

If you are selling something, then you want people to buy it, but how? The challenge is greater if your product is more innovative. But maybe other innovations can come to the rescue.

Resistance from existing distributors

Tesla_logo

For Tesla, the electric car manufacturer which is shaking up the motor industry, Texas is different. Tesla believe that existing car dealers have little incentive to sell electric cars, so they decided to sell them direct through their own sites, rather like a kind of Apple Store chain for cars.

But in Texas the car dealers don’t like that and they have laws to stop it.
Read more…

How much fun will your three year old child have learning to ride a bike?

2013 July 16

Training wheels don’t work

If you have a young child who will learn to ride a bike sometime soon, you probably have recollections of the bike that you learnt on, and the awkwardness of bikes with stabilisers (also known as: training wheels). Recently, I came across this article about training wheels and balance bikes and it reminded me of the very different experience with my youngest son.

Balance bikes are much better

Balance bikes are great, as this video (not of my child) shows!

In my experience, they are obviously a better way to learn to ride a bike and it’s very surprising that anyone buys bikes with stabilisers (training wheels) any more. On a more professional note, this is also one of the best examples that I have encountered of innovation applied to learning by choosing different disclosure sequences, but that is a much bigger story.

How it started Read more…

Bring back the great British tea break!

2013 April 8

It’s an institution or, at least, it was an established ritual: the great British tea break.

Get together

When I first started work, and for many years afterwards, there was a break every morning and every afternoon. Everyone in the department would stop work for 15-20 minutes each morning and afternoon, to get together to have a cup of tea; it was important.

Being there

Well, maybe it was a mug of coffee, that was not important. The important part was to provide a social routine for the group in which we were working, Read more…

Innovation and marketing – an important pair

2013 April 5

Understanding “innovation” relationships

With so much current interest in innovation, and with there being so many differences of view on what innovation is, one way to organise one’s thinking on the topic is to describe its relationship to other topics.

… with “marketing”!

The relationship between innovation and marketing is a particularly important, and this led to an article on several aspects of that pairing.

Read the full article …

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