Thursday, July 15, 2004

BRW Magazine - "In a word" This article by Darryl Bubner comments on Australia's misguided policies that are designed to, in theory, boost innovation, but in practice, do anything but.

For example, govt. funding for textile companies to upgrade equipment id given under the guise of innovation - but seeing as this is the same equipment everyone else buys - where's the innovation? Or the "Innovation Insights" program that aims to help manufacturing companies share best practices - something that is undoubtedly a good thing - but something that is undoubtedly contrary to the principles of innovation. As the author so rightly points out - "it is adoption and adaption, not innovation".

This article inadvertently though brings up some further fundemental problems that are starting to creep into the innovation "industry": that of increasing misdirection. Every new consultant and academic wishing to make a name for himself, starts off by taking the common set of terms and definitions for innovation, and renaming them to suit themselves. In that way, we now have little i vs Big I, Incremental Innovation vs Radical Innovation, Procedural Innovation vs Disruptive Innovation, and the list goes on. The words are all essentially saying the same thing - but using different terms - and the net effect of this is to create confusion (confusion I'm sure many consultants have no trouble solving for clients for a nice fee!). InnovationNetwork's Joyce Wycoff recently started up an initiative to try and come up with a set of common definitions and models, and whilst I applaud her desire and effort to do this, the sceptic (or some would say realist) in me fears it is a doomed effort as there is no money to be made in uniformity and clarity.

What will it take to solve the solution? Send us suggestions to - we'll print any good ones we get :)

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