Sunday, September 11, 2005

Reversing the Innovation Process

Innovation processes often take shape around a compelling and unfulfilled need – one that is sufficiently powerful enough to inspire creative minds to devise a unique solution. Even traditional market research or more trendy user-centered design approaches are ultimately aimed at better understanding audience needs and defining a problem space in which to innovate.

I believe however, that some of the most innovative and successful ideas do not originate through a singular focus on addressing needs or solving well-defined problems. Perhaps this analytical problem solving does not provide the best foundation for the innovation process. We have difficulty imagining otherwise, since the very way we view innovation is as creative problem-solving. How could we create innovative solutions that do not start with a problem that needs solving?

The answer lies in what I call reverse innovation – or the concept that successful innovation can be viewed from the bottom up as the results of fruitful creative exploration of an individual or team, not as a top-down problem solving process. Viewed in this way, a successful innovation process might involve combining the right creative people with the right creative environments. These creative environments provide fuel for inspiration, tools for creation, and remove barriers (like customer needs, solution demands, and business requirements) that doom innovators to produce every day ideas or deflate thinking that generates and stimulates powerful ideas.

In short, reverse innovation concentrates on providing creative individuals with encouraging environments to cultivate and breed the best ideas. Who knows, maybe some of these ideas will even solve the toughest problems.

2 Comments:

Blogger Healthy Recipes said...

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Blogger Linda Johnson said...

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