The discontinuous nature of innovation

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). Continue reading

Innovation is betting: you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Innovation fails

Innovation is not guaranteed to work, if it were then it would not be novel enough to be termed “innovation”. So there is a risk involved. However, presumably, we would like our innovative efforts to work (that is, to pay out) some of the time, otherwise they would not be worth the price.

#c4cc2012 event

During a flow of Twitter messages about an event today (2012.01.24) at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London, there was an exchange of messages in which Benjamin Ellis (@BenjaminEllis) suggested that paying the price of innovation is the opposite of paying an insurance premium. The message is here. Benjamin called it an innovation premium.

It is a gamble

Well, the opposite of an insurance premium is a bet. The model is the same: you pay a small price, in the expectation of getting a bigger payout if an event occurs. The difference is that: in the case of an insurance premium, you (probably) hope that the event does not happen; whereas, in the case of a bet, you hope that it does.

So it seems that innovation is equivalent to gambling. Of course, one can consider and analyse the various risks involved, and can work to minimise the downside. But in the end, in innovation, as in gambling:

You’ve got to be in it to win it!

LikeMinds turn to “innovation and opportunity”

Yesterday, LikeMinds 2011 was announced. Yet again, the fields of enquiry chosen for the conference are topical, substantial and accelerating: “innovation and opportunity”. What a choice!

This will be the fourth LikeMinds conference in the UK in Exeter; other conferences have taken and will take place around the world: in Helsinki and in Dubai, for example. Amazingly, the Exeter conference has also doubled in size for the third time; yes, this conference will be eight times the size of the first one. Surely this doubling cannot continue, … or can it?!


Innovation is on everyone’s agenda these days, and there are good reasons why. We feel the need for innovation in so many fields, that one has to question whether this is leading us to a better future or whether, like the increasing size of the LikeMinds conference, this pace is sustainable as the power law of human development is raised to the next index as it diverges towards oblivion. However, this perceived need for innovation is not, in my humble opinion, the reason why innovation is on everyone’s agenda; I have describedposted on and spoken about this previously and expect to do so, from time to time, again.


Opportunity is, on the other hand, not on everyone’s agenda, it seems to me. Continue reading

It’s not about the technology! Or is it?

New experiences, behaviours and techniques come along from time to time. As children, at school, there was always the latest “craze” whether it was for conkers or marbles or assegais (remember those?). As adults, at work and at play, we call them innovations, whether they are new materials, techniques, goods, services, fashions or whole new experiences.


At the time of writing (early 2011), one significant “craze” is for “social media”, “social networking”, “social” anything, or, even, simply “social”, … as if we were not social or, at least, sociable before! It’s all the rage. Now we (yup, that includes me) are calling it “social communication” and just round the corner, allegedly, is “social commerce”. It’s fun, it’s different, and it’s a substantial change in something or other, … but in what? Continue reading

Highlights of a 2010 innovation management highlight

One of the highlights of 2010, for me, was the opportunity to attend a meeting on innovation management at the request of BrightIdea who are a leading provider of innovation management products.

Through a series of “birds of a feather” meetings (you know, they flock together) around the world, BrightIdea have promulgated thinking, information and ideas on the rapid developments taking place in the management of innovation; and, at the time of writing (January 2011), the series has not been completed yet.

My opportunity to attend came about through a brief Twitter discussion with Vincent Carbone who co-founded BrightIdea with Matt Greeley who also wrote these inspiring words: Continue reading