So You Want To Innovate



“Only 1 in 500 patents makes its inventor money, and businesses are awash in great ideas of dubious market value (only about 4% make money)”

I think this might be the reason people don’t welcome ‘Idea persons’ For the past 6 years I’ve heard the word ‘Innovate’ consistently and most times it’s been focused on how innovative ideas are generated. The article in Communications of the ACM Dec edition written by Peter J. Denning and Nicholas Dew focuses on what really matters in innovation and what we can do about it.

“90% of Innovation is in fostering adoption”

But what about those sticky stories about how things we know like the iPhone were invented? The article says that ideas are often stories invented after the fact to explain innovations that already emerged, as with the iPhone. The media telling of the story makes it sound as if ideation—the creation of ideas—is 90% of the work of innovation

“Ideation has produced many inventions that never became innovations because no one adopted them. Many people are misled by stories that inaccurately equate innovation with invention. People who believe these stories put too little effort into adoption and are disappointed by their low success rates”

“Innovations are new practices adapted in a community which displaces other practices”

So how can we get into fostering adoption for our inventions? The article points out 6 fundamental skills for achieving adoption which depend on our ability to listen for concerns, histories, movements of social power, barriers, moods, reactions to offers, and followers in networks.

Offering and Mobilizing are core skills which is about what you can bring of value to people and getting them sufficiently interested. Can you make offers that intrigue people? Can you turn your networks into a following, a community of people who will commit to your offer?

DetectingAppropriatingNavigating and Surfing support the core. To be an innovator these skills should be learned.

In short, you have to read the whole article. You can find it here

The Profession of IT: Why Our Theories of Innovation Fail Us


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