Innovators share the lessons they've learned during 2010By Chuck Frey
"Ideation vs. innovation
One of the biggest lessons I have learned this year is the misconception between ideation and innovation. Many people think that ideas are what drives innovation - and they then put a lot of focus on ideation as the 'innovation process.' A very close cousin to this misconception is thinking that creativity is innovation - and hence putting a lot of energy and focus on 'being creative' as the key part of an innovation process.
In our experience a true innovation process actually begins with strategy and strategic thinking which connects to a portfolio approach that focuses research and informs the ideation process. Ideation leads to insights which then start a whole process of turning insights into innovations that require market development and sales to complete the entire cycle. Ideation and creativity are the middle of an innovation process and not the beginning or end.
- Michael Kaufman, InnovationLabs LLC
Parallels between building your muscular core and innovation
Ideation is not innovation. The “fuzzy front end” is just that. It is easy to get excited about something “warm and fuzzy.” The “lessons learned” this year for me is the importance of process over tools to flow and grow innovation through the organizational culture. Innovation is not a “point solution” to any problem and innovation tools apart from a broader context of their purpose can lead to the “flavor of the month” syndrome for the innovation community. Intentional, strategic, process-driven innovation is like a body workout. The muscles have to go through a range of motion they are not used to resulting in some aches that go away as the muscles are strengthened and built. The innovation process similarly takes time, and the organizational change to accomplish it can be painful before you see measurable and sustainable results and, just like exercise, there is typically more talk about innovation than action."
- Don Pital, Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute