Defining Innovation

I continue to hear and read about “innovation” in the current business press. In my opinion, as a word it has been grossly misused. Relatively few of those who say they are being innovative are actually achieving it.

I have been enamored with Horace Dediu’s blog Asymco for a while. Here is a key quote from a recent post titled Innoveracy: Misunderstanding Innovation.*:

“Understanding that innovation requires passing a market test and that passing that test is immensely rewarding both for the creator and for society at large means that we can focus on how to make it happen. Obsessing over the mere novelties or inventions means we allocate resources which markets won’t reward.”

He suggests in the image below that innovation is the culmination of what is useful, unique, valuable and new. It is both hard and rewarding.


Thanks, Horace, for providing a thorough discussion and perspective on how hard innovation really is. And for a visual reminder that innovation is not a synonym for novelty, creation or invention. A marketplace test makes the difference.

*Dedicated ZMAB15 readers may recall that I previously referenced this blog post in Weekly Download 14.4. It has stuck with me, and I felt it deserved repetition and elaboration.


Weekly Download 14.9

download-158006_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

Tech entrepreneur Josh Linkler gives a quick lesson in how to Avoid the Complexity Trap.

“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” —legendary jazz bassist Charles Mingus

Mark McDonald, Managing Partner Accenture, is always insightful in his blog. His recent post, The end matters when we all start in the same place, is no exception. Here is one of my favorite quotes to entice you to read it thoroughly:

“Digital is more of a market than a channel. There are distinct groups that choose to transact in the digital world instead of in traditional markets. Those groups are inaccessible unless you participate in the digital marketplace.”

Mark encourages us as we’re all at the starting line in the digital strategy race. You must get started and learn as you go. There is not prescribed winning path—it’s all about the learning. Kind of like life.

Apple’s biggest news today is in the plumbing. That is, the best feature of its newest IOS may be the behind-the-scenes elements that will greatly enhance the user experience.