Articles and books about Innovation are everywhere. Every organization talks about increasing innovation…and they talk…and they talk.
Instead of talking about ‘how to innovate’ and trying to implement ‘innovation groups’, perhaps organizations need to just let their people work on topics that interest them. There are many organizations touting their ‘innovation networks’ and ‘processes to improve innovation’ but these same organizations show very little innovative output (at least any that is visible).
Innovation and invention doesn’t come from a process…it comes from hard work and luck. As an example, look at the recent news article about John Kanzius’ attempts at finding a cure for cancer which turned into the amazing discovery of how to burn saltwater by sending radio waves through the water. The resulting ‘burn’ provides flames hot enough to melt the glass test tubes (some reports show the flames at 3000 degrees F.
I’d bet money that Mr Kanzius didn’t write a bunch of articles nor read a bunch of books about ‘innovation’…I bet he went to his lab day in and day out and worked his butt off. With the hard work (and a bit of luck) he was able to do something that many researchers with doctorate degrees and many ‘innovative’ organizations haven’t been able to…provide a new scientific break-through that might have significant repercussions for this world. The only question for Mr Kanzius now is how much energy does it take to get the saltwater to the burning point….if its significantly less than the output heat than he’s got a winner on his hands.
Innovation is a great thing for organizations and is vital to their long-term success and stability but I think some people are losing sight of the fact that talking about innovation isn’t going to cut it…you need to actually do something. Oh yeah…and have a little luck on your side too.
A few more blog posts about Innovation that I found interesting:
- On Measuring the ability to Innovate at The Webquarters
- Apple and the cost of Innovation at BusinessWeek
- Google’s API Greed is bad for Innovation at Micro Persuasion
[tag] Innovation, Invention, Google [/tags]