Home » Archive » Invoking innovation: moving beyond serendipity

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Inspiring brilliance

A large part of brilliance is inspiration triggered by a convergence of information, creativity, and insight. But here’s the hitch: innovative brilliance is still fortuitous, it’s basically an accident. The challenge is moving innovation beyond serendipity and into an intentional process.

Part of enabling a consistent process of innovation is creating many rich sources of inspiration. Old and forgotten technologies could be a great source of insight. Other sources are expired patents, latent university research, and even the technologies used by failing companies.

Often, having a problem to solve or a niche opportunity to capture is enough to drive out innovation. These gaps are all around us. Just invert the things you hate, old problems, and emerging issues – these are your opportunities.

However, many brilliant people struggle to synchronize their brilliance with sources of inspiration and uncaptured opportunities. The weight of sifting through so many options pushes them off the best use of their abilities. Most would be tickled if someone would just invite them to simply focus on the specific things they’re good at and leave the gathering of information and sourcing of opportunities to someone else.

This ends up being the reason so many brilliant people flock to corporate life. Someone in the big company is expected to pick up these other roles. Unfortunately the burden of bureaucracy usually gets in the way.

Gaming the inspiration process

There seems to be an unfulfilled role. Sme mildly sophisticated organization could perform the sifting and due diligence necessary to create feeds of inspiration and lists of opportunities or gaps that innovators can target. If these information pools are filtered to the interests of innovators, it might just prove to be a fertile input to the innovation process.

The process could be focused on three stages: inspiring, refining, and implementing. Pre-sifted sources of inspiration are presented to hand-picked innovators who refine technologies that are rapidly implemented in small, experimental companies.

Ever seen anything like this before? Any gaps? Got a better idea?

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