On Innovation

For my 200th post, I thought it would be a good idea to write about a possible model to comprehend the spate of technological changes happening around us.

There is a wealth of material available on defining what innovation really is. And, of course, multiple views and types of innovation have been identified and argued about. There is an interesting discussion here summarized here. There are many ways that organized innovation spaces or structures can be created as well within an organization. Steven Johnson talks about these spaces in his new book Where good ideas come from. There is a bit about different models like open innovation & FORTH and sites like platforms like One Billion Minds and Atizo. Various theories such as Actor-Network Theory and techniques such as Crowdsourcing innovation have also been conceived. The purpose of innovation is also discussed with respect to the context as is the evolution of an innovation over time-space. There are also many identified sources or ingredients of innovation.

We are concerned with not just how innovations can be engineered or can emerge, but also spaces, processes, models and uses in different contexts for innovation. We are also concerned with defining what an innovation is or looks like – there is an OECD classification as well. The word itself means “to renew or change”.

I see innovation as the relationships in a mashup or cross-linkage of entities. Visually:

The entities may be software, people, devices, experiences, qualities or anything else. The relationships may be equally representable.

I think this kind of map can prove to be a good catalyst for innovation thought. Maybe a system could be developed where it picks randomly from these ever-expanding baskets of entities and relationships and presents you on thought-provoking combination to base your ideas on each day. Perhaps market and other data could be linked to such an exercise, making it easier to weight different entities and relationships to derive more effective innovations….And so on.

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