Innovation is an opportunity

Innovation happens as new perspectives, thoughts and ideas lead to changes in behaviour. Doing the same things and expecting a different outcome is unrealistic. Only when we do new things, do we make a substantial difference.

Mankind has evolved through the application of small thoughts which continually make a difference to someone and big ideas which occasionally rock everyone’s world. There is always an opportunity to innovate in specific ways, but now something else is happening at a generic level.

Innovation is an opportunity now: not because we have access to many new technologies; not because we face major challenges; and not because the pace of change is increasing. These have been true during many periods of history.

Innovation is an opportunity now because the world is beginning to understand that innovation can be managed. This has been understood by some people for some time; yet, for most people, the concept of managing innovation remains out of reach.

We have the opportunity to do new things more effectively through the application of our understanding of innovation. The opportunity is to be more innovative, and we are still learning what that means.

[This post was originally written in connection with my contribution to the Like Minds 2011 conference in Exeter, UK between October 19-21, and was published in the conference magazine for the Apple iPad, see the AppStore under “Like Minds” .]

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2 thoughts on “Innovation is an opportunity

  1. This is a great post. Innovation takes courage, and often times those individuals who have creative insights lack the courage to articulate their ideas. I’m curious about what you mean when you say “managing innovation”. To me, managing innovation means that leaders encourage and develop those ideas within their organizations or groups, and provide a path for those innovative ideas to reach the light of day.

  2. Thank you, Joe, for identifying courage as a crucial factor in innovation. In too many organizations, innovative proposals and the stamina to advance them require something more like downright recklessness and complete disregard for one’s personal reputation and career. Innovation can be managed by establishing strategic perspectives and objectives, maintaining situational awareness of available opportunities, and providing tactical processes for the capture and exploitation of specific innovations. Bringing the management of innovation into the mainstream of our activities, we can reduce the courage and risk involved in innovation. As you describe, this also requires leaders to introduce and promote an innovative mindset.

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