Is Innovation Simply “Thinking Differently”?
Is Incremental Innovation Innovative?
Hmm – according to frog – and according to them as a “global innovation consultancy” the concept of innovation is changing. Personally, I think that the concept of innovation that is not changing – innovation has always been about “thinking differently”, its all a question of scale, a question of “how different”.
And to me, small scale thinking has its place – but it’s not innovation.
No one can argue that Apple wasn’t being innovative when it put together pre-existing parts into a package, wrapping it in a beautiful package, then breaking into a whole new market – which is where the iPod came from – and begat the whole iCraze. Even though the parts weren’t innovative, the design and the fact that a computer company, not a consumer electronics company, was going to develop and sell this thing. Jobs made Apple re-invent itself into a consumer electronics company. It was a big risk and it paid off. That’s large-scale thinking, and that’s not this.
When you add a new feature to an existing product, that’s a small scale – which is great and helpful, but the question is – is it n? When you add a new emoticon to your instant messenger, or expand the size of your Wifi range, or accept PayPal as a payment mechanism, or even develop an iPad app to do the exact same thing that your customers can do on your website, is that n?
No, that’s just product development.
Of course, simply copying how a successful company does things “different,” wont automatically ensure parallel results. You have to rethink what “think different” really means in 2012–for you. Are your companys innovation efforts really resulting in unique work? Do you have original human resources policies to retain your top performers and to recruit—and retain–the next generation of leaders? Will your own management style help define, or at least reflect, the winning business strategies of the 2010s, and not the outdated leadership tactics of the 2000s?
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