Three Hidden Factors that Make Innovation Diffusion Hard

Andrew Gelman wrote a post today that includes a great graph that shows how the innovation diffusion curve has played out for a number of major inventions over the past century. His post includes a discussion of how the graphic developed, an interesting story in itself. Here it is (click here to see it full-size): […]

Expand the Market for Innovation Success

I’ve told the story of the rise and fall of Xerox a few times recently, and I thought it would be worthwhile to actually write it up. The key points from the rise are these: Chester Carlson took out a patent on the process of xerography in 1937. After failing to commercialise it successfully, he […]

What’s the Best Medium for Spreading Your Great Idea?

I had a very invigorating meeting with Johnnie Moore while I was in London. We discussed a wide variety of interesting things, but there is one idea in particular that has stuck with me – that it is very important to develop the skill of choosing the best way to communicate your ideas. Here’s the […]

Innovation: The War of Ideas

Innovations are ideas. Even if your innovation is a new gizmo, it is essentially an idea. Once you have a great idea (by making a new connection), you have to figure out how to get it to work, and once you’ve done that, you have to figure out how to get the idea to spread. […]

How You Define a Problem Determines if You Can Solve It

How we define things is incredibly important. I’ve been reminded of this almost constantly this week. Here are some examples: I was talking with a friend of mine over the weekend about using social media to improve the flow of ideas within an organisation. She is a high-ranking manager in a very large organisation, and […]

The Innovation Fight

Thursday was one of the worst days of work I’ve had in a long, long time. John and I had major problems arise on three different projects that we’re working on, and it seemed like the entire day was taking up with fights. It was absolutely exhausting, and by the time I got home, I […]

Get Better Ideas, Not More

Innovation is all about executing ideas so that they have economic or social value. John and I have both talked frequently about how many firms overemphasise generating ideas when they try to increase innovation. When they make this mistake, they end up with a lot of stockpiled ideas, but the amount that they have successfully […]

Fighting the System

Today was one of those days when a lot of related ideas just seemed to keep popping up. It started when I read today’s post by George Siemens which discusses the difficulties of changing the educational system. I recommend reading the whole post, but here is part of his argument: I want to resist the […]

Innovation Diffusion Lessons from Edison

How do we win with innovation? I’ve been arguing strongly that one of the key changes in thinking that we have to make is shift from an emphasis on the importance of ideas to one on the importance of execution. In other words, instead of spending so much time trying to have ideas, we’d be […]

The 1000 Cell Spreadsheet Kills an Innovation

A few years ago I had a consulting job where my task was to help a company figure out how to sell the waterless composting toilet that they invented. They had already had other consultants working on the problem, but they weren’t happy with what they got from them. The only constraint that I had […]

You Don’t Need Any More New Ideas!

Scott Berkun let out the secret of innovation today in an outstanding blog post. It’s a secret that Rowan Gibson tried to let out of the bag recently, and so did Braden Kelley on Blogging Innovation. I’ve tried to tell you about it too, using both analogies and statistics. The secret idea of innovation is […]