Sunday, April 05, 2009

Innovator's new dilemma

I have lately been busy with a new focus on innovations. We now have more ingredients for doing more new things and old things differently with technology than ever before. Recessions are often the time for better reflection and new approaches. This recession may even form the base for a mental shift - away from mindless consumerism, blind quarterly capitalism, sensation-searching media and stupid politcal populism  - to quality thinking, reflecting questioning critical media, brave not-media-led politicians and enterprises driving co-regulation with democratic institions. Tall order to say the least - but do we want to be critized for not having tried?

Then we come to the innovator's new dilemma: too many options - in relation to trying-out and implementation resources and end-users capability (time really). It is striking to meet the mass of good sense-making ideas that new technology allow. Many of these have actually been implemented and work quite well - but have not been taken up by a critical mass of potential users. The sheer multitude of options actually prevents take-up - because it fragements time into so small units that nothing but the perfect (or fashion) finds the way forward. And forward today means fast-forward. The normal slow-forward is far too often discarded as a failure - instead of being put on a near-shelf as the first valuable attempt that soon enough should be re-tested.

So what should we do? Accept the fragmentation-fact to begin with - and always ask questions like:

1. is this often needed by many? Not seldom by few..

2. is it building on existing experience and habis - economy of repetition - or starting from nowhere?

3. has it been refined to the clinically simple - or as far too often understood only by those creating it?

4. is it an isolated "product" - or a concept adressing the user's holistic every-day needs

5. has it been created by the several partners needed - building on experience and ingenuity of many - or far too typical silo-work?

And many more. By re-thinking innovation work we will  surely be able to create new dimensions of value for all involved.


Wolfgang said...

Hi Bo

in harmony with Catholic belief, I think that much of the world is built on injustice. Injustice towards the inventors, in part because an idea or patent isn´t everything. Injustice towards seemingly inefficient societies, as in the American Indians. Etc.

I honestly believe (and hope to be proved wrong) that a) fixing the economy, the climate, and all the rest of it, will actually require immense injustice and that b) we actually have no choice.

Mr. Personal EU said...

Hi Bo, 450 million individuals could benefit from a "Personal EU27 TeamFinder". I think we should meet and help it come true. How about morning coffee at my home office? Kurre, "Mr Personal EU"

BoHarald said...

I did not think of this from the injustice aspect. Interesting view - is it better to be able to improve the conditions for many - even if the condition for it is that some will get more? Then I am an idealist and do not believe that we will have to cause immense injustice. But I do agree that we have very few choices.

BoHarald said...


I have to look a personal EU once more to see where it is bo