The crossroads of innovation
Today at Innovate On Purpose, blogger Jeffrey Philips talks to Imaginatik about where innovation is headed - science or side show? He says innovation practitioners in general have to do two things to make it a science: Demonstrate that our tools have real value (see how here) and our buyers and business partners must understand that innovation requires commitment, communication change, and new tools.
We as innovation consultants and practitioners, in partnership with our clients, need to establish clear understanding and expectation about the "art" and "science" that we propose to do. Like alchemists, we propose to turn simple insights and ideas into winning new products, services and business models, faster and more effectively than firms have done in the past. We employ radical tools and creative thinking in ways that are new and different from what many in corporate American have experienced, and there are many within corporate America who believe we in the innovation space are charlatans, out to make a quick buck rather than create a true innovation science.
In some cases those feelings may be correct. When IBM runs an advertisement that shows a team lying on the floor in the dark "ideating", people may believe that seems odd and strange. While I've been in the innovation space over six years, I've never had my clients lie on the floor in the dark. Perhaps that is valuable, or perhaps IBM was making fun of these uncertain approaches. But when we as practitioners introduce radically new ways of creating insights or ideas, we need to also demonstrate the value proposition and the outcomes. Recently I saw that Imaginatik has released the ability for its clients to capture ideas using mobile devices. This has both a positive and a negative connotation. If we are capturing ideas on the go because people are now more mobile, then that's reasonable. If we are promoting that technology because "you just never know when someone will have a good idea" then that suggests that innovation is unmanageable and is a black art after all, which could only contribute to the thinking that innovation is alchemy.