What is Innovation?


People often think it’s weird when they hear that I study innovation – even people in very innovative jobs.  The biggest reason for this is mistaking invention for innovation.  If you do this, then studying innovation makes no sense at all – what can you learn about the flash of insight, the stroke of genius, […]

The Worst Innovation Quote Ever


Here’s my candidate for the worst innovation quote ever: Now, to be fair, it’s actually a paraphrasing of Emerson. Or, to be more accurate, a misquote. Nevertheless, it reflects a very common innovation misconception – that it’s all about the idea. Andrew Hargadon has written a terrific post on this topic, which I encourage you […]

The Right Idea at the Wrong Time is Still Wrong

You may remember Webvan, probably the most spectacular flame-out in during the tech boom in the late 90s. If you don’t, Nicole Perlroth describes their blowup for Forbes: Of Web 1.0’s most memorable implosions, Webvan still takes the cake. The online grocer raised $375 million in an IPO, descended upon eight major U.S. cities, peddled […]

Innovation Requires a Change in Behaviour


What is the most important innovation ever? I’ve argued before that it is hand-washing in hospitals. This innovation was a major driver in the improved health outcomes that have increased our life expectancies from less than 60 years at birth to nearly 80 in most developed countries. It’s such a simple idea, and so easy […]