Recently I asked for your
comments around some of the key trends in innovation consulting in our first
blog challenge
. Thank you all for your feedback — there were some great,
innovative ideas, which I’ll try to synthesize here. I see these ideas as forming
the start of a value chain of innovation — that of first understanding the
objective, then the specific process to achieve innovation, and finally the outcome
of the innovation. The key points are:

  • Ultimately innovation needs to serve one purpose — that of the
    customer. Companies simply cannot focus on innovation itself but must see
    it as a process to serve their customers' needs.

  • Once the customer needs have been determined it is then up to the
    company to achieve innovation in a continual and focused manner to serve
    these needs. Companies should also not just focus on idea generation — it
    is absolutely paramount to also focus on the development of ideas via an
    end-to-end process.

  • The process of innovation is itself undergoing change. It is
    becoming democratized, and good companies will need to listen to their
    employees — who are increasingly empowered, helped by social
    collaboration tools and their familiarity with technology. At the same
    time they will need training on innovation tools and innovation itself in
    order to maximize their potential. But companies need to first ensure the
    underlying process is effective, prior to the implementation of specific
  • Typically the key value generating innovation emerges from business
    model innovation as opposed to more incremental innovation. While product
    advances can provide useful revenue streams, it is the new business models
    which will end up transforming markets.

  • The management and commercialization of intellectual property (IP) is itself
    generating significant revenue streams. It should be helping to monetarize
    innovation better, and is itself generating business around IP
    analytics and management.

Look out for my next piece on
innovation which will be published shortly, which will include many of the
themes included in this blog. And let me know what you think about these points.