Here’s part of what we know about innovation so far.
I read a lot of books that deal with innovation challenges. They dominate the best sellers lists. The warnings are everywhere – the next breakthrough innovations are around the corner, and if you are left behind, then you will really! be left behind.
I think we can say that these insights are the current minimum insights regarding “received wisdom” about innovation. (They come from a number of the books I have read, and presented, at the First Friday Book Synopsis).
Here are four “lessons” about innovation.
#1 – Everything can be improved. Every product. Every process. Work on constant improvement.
#2 – Innovations come by building on, tweaking, and adapting, yesterday’s innovations. Thus, all innovators build on the shoulders of prior innovators.
#3 – Most innovations come from teams. It is people working together, more than person working alone, that leads to breakthroughs.
(From Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators: “Most of the innovations of the digital age were done collaboratively”).
#4 – A breakthrough innovation is not valuable until it is put to use in some practical way(s) to benefit many.
I suspect that you could expand on this list…
But, this much I know—whatever your endeavor, you need to be working on innovating constantly. And, innovation needs to be pretty much woven throughout the very DNA of your organization. Innovation is a crucial part of the every-day job of the many.