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.

Image

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 14.4

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

Innoveracy: Misunderstanding Innovation. Love it—the new term “innoveracy” defined as “the inability to understand the concept and role of innovation.” This quote has resonated with me: “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.”

Disruptive entrepreneurs: An interview with Eric Ries. Digital technology is allowing entrepreneurs to “rent the means of production”.  Iterative innovation is critical within organizations as there isn’t just one entrepreneur trying to replace what you are trying to do, there are potentially thousands or tens of thousands.

Six must be the new magic number. A must read and must watch.6 Rules cover