Trends Report

Innovating The Adjacent Possible

How To Generate The Next Big Product Idea That Will Transform Your Industry

August 4th, 2011
With contributors:
Carlton A. Doty , Annie E. Corbett , Andia Vokshi


Most product strategists proceed in an entirely reasonable fashion: They set proximate goals and move toward them in a linear mode, tweaking a product or service to fulfill the well-understood goals of the organization and, hopefully, the needs of the end customer as well. While this has been a fine way to approach a business for as long as commerce has existed, it is not enough to power the big product innovations that will dominate the future of any industry touched by digital technology. Instead, we propose a completely unexpected and hard-to-imagine — but impossible-to-defend-against — approach. We call it "innovating the adjacent possible," and if product strategists dare adopt it and adhere to the three principles it reveals, it will give them what they need to generate the next big product idea for even the most analog industries.

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