Innovation – what is it?

Better to start with what it is not.

  • It is not grabbing the newest latest and greatest, no matter how cool.
  • It is not thinking short-term and quick return.
  • It is not just giving people what they want (often they don’t know and need your expertise to guide them).
  • It is certainly not an easy answer.
  • It is not a silver bullet; no one-shot answer.

What is it?

  • It should be a deep assessment, with a core effort in seeking to understand real needs and intended application.
  • It is quite often a solution that addresses more than the initial problem at hand.
  • It should be built on long-term principles.
  • It should seek to identify what people need and what co-benefits can be supported, and what co-burdens can be avoided all together.
  • It must seek to understand and address also the implementations (outreach and education).

Seeking innovation requires setting your ego aside when the ideas are forming. Now anyone that has seen any film about Apple or about the Tucker Torpedo or any other innovation led primarily by a brilliant and driven mind might disagree with me.  Apple, as an example, is the epitome of innovation, and Steve Jobs had a huge ego. But Jobs also freely latched on to people with skills that challenged him and helped him to move the ideas forward. He was not scared of being challenged and he surrounded himself with brilliant minds. His fight was against doing “what we’ve always done”, and he never settled for solving one problem – designs were technologically innovative AND user connected AND elegant AND…

Innovation is a process and means looking for the complex, rich and informed answer, with excitement and energy.

I’m in…let’s innovate.


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