Every year, Chuck Frey at innovationtools.com invites innovation authors and experts to submit their Key Innovation Lessons from the past twelve months. He then publishes the compilation on the website.
Here is my submission for 2009:
In 2009 I realised the extent to which innovation is dependent on cycles and fashion.
Cycles: For most of the year, while the financial crisis was on everyone’s minds, innovation activity dropped dramatically, and then suddenly in the fourth quarter, when companies started to believe that the crisis was essentially over, activity exploded. It seems that innovation is still widely perceived as a luxury, rather than a necessary and continuous investment.
Fashion: Both the innovation market (clients and consultants) and the media (journalists and bloggers) are slaves to fashion. An innovation fashion is something that (a) has actually been around for a long time, (b) is widely misunderstood, (c) is marketed as a silver bullet by media and consultants alike. In 2009, the reigning fashion was Disruptive Innovation, and the new challenger was Open Innovation.
Outside the world of fashion, my key learning experience in 2009 has been that many companies have a pressing need to dramatically extend and improve their service offers. This is what I call „Radical Service Innovation“. This type of innovation was virtually invisible in the media in 2009.