Big I, little i.
When does Innovation start? I would propose that Innovation starts when there is a recognizable discomfort with the ability for an item or situation to meet one’s needs or when a level of excitement presents itself organically related to something that would increase the experience delivered by the particular item. Yes I realize this is wordy, but sometimes when getting theoretical excess words tend to be used, especially when trying to define a term that has been overused and has numerous similar definitions.
The upfront phases of innovation can be called many things, ideation, suggestions, feedback, input, all parts of early innovation. And ideas can come from many places, whether it be internal or external, it makes no difference. For this post I will refer to these early phases as ideation.
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and I wholeheartedly agree. It is a necessity to solve an obvious gap or the necessity to address a creative improvement to an existing product. And the ideas that come out of the necessity need not be large, big I versus little i, but only address the need with measurable impact. I will spend time on capturing and vetting ideas in subsequent posts but it should be mentioned that capturing as much detail as possible during the initial interaction with the idea originator it’s critical. The essence behind the idea, the true problem it is trying to solve that is well documented while fresh in the mind of the originator is truly valuable information.
Kettering stated, It is said that “a problem well stated is half solved” highlighting the importance of defining the problem. When truly understood and having access to this information early, allows connecting the dots between the reason behind and the manifestation of the solution to the need.
So in terms of the “origin”, it’s really when the thought presents itself related to the stimulus…framing the innovation and pushing to realize measurable value is another part of the innovative process that comes later.