Innovation Management - what problem is being solved?
Franklin (2003) reported that many innovations fail due to a lack of focus. This sentiment is echoed by Doug Richards....
Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.
Franklin (2003) reported that many innovations fail due to a lack of focus. This sentiment is echoed by Doug Richards (Words of wisdom from the dragon's mouth, Financial Times, 7th May 2005) a venture capitalist who stated that what he really wants to know is what problem the product solves. This stresses the often overlooked but important part of the creativity and innovation process 'problem identification.
Ask twenty different people what the problem is and you will likely get twenty different answers. Each answer opens up a pathway that can be explored for ideas.
Taking time to identify problems exactly decreases misunderstandings, increases awareness of multiple dimensions, enhances interpersonal relationships and allows all opinions to be heard.
Developing and commercialising products addressed to specific problems reduces the occurrence of failure and the related cost. Further, it saves the cost of having to retrace steps and re-engineer.
These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com.
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com.
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