What does the inside of Innovation look like?

Joseph Schumpeter, widely considered the father of innovation theory, wrote of innovation as the gale force of capitalism, with a large focus is on the entrepreneur as the catalyst of innovation. He writes, “the function of entrepreneurs is to reform or revolutionize the pattern of production by exploiting an invention, or more generally, an untried technological possibility for producing a new commodity or producing an old one in a new way, by opening up a new source of supply of materials or a new outlet for products, by reorganizing an industry and so on.” Innovation, to Schumpeter, is the driver of change in a Capitalist economy, where a process of “creative destruction” and dynamic competition ensures that old paradigms and markets are incessantly replaced by new ones.

For the influential management consultant Peter F. Drucker, innovation is both conceptual and perceptual, i.e. it must be market-focused and market-driven. Moreover, Drucker asserts, innovation is organized, systematic and rational work that can be integrated into any organization. Drucker proposes that most innovation arises from the methodical analysis of the seven major sources of opportunity: unexpected events, incongruities between the expected and the actual, new process requirements, unanticipated changes in industry or market structure, demographic changes, changes in perception, mood, or meaning, and, lastly, new knowledge.

Another, highly functional view, is that of the famous robotics engineer Joseph F. Engelberger, who asserts that in order to innovate regularly, one requires only three things: a recognized need, competent people with relevant technology, and financial support.

Although these three theories of innovation developed by the respective ‘fathers’ of modern economics, management and robotics are different in various ways, a common thread running across them is that they all view innovation from the outside, as it were. They give accounts of the various physical elements, resources and external conditions that are needed to make innovation happen, but do not delve into the internal processes that actually generate innovations, which are twofold: the first is the process of collaboration and interaction amongst members of a team along with all the tools and methodologies they use, and the second is the cognitive technique intrinsic to each individual participating in the innovation process. Answers to such intimate questions about how innovation actually happens cannot be found within these business-management or technocentric theories of innovation.

This entry was posted in Design!publiC, Interesting Ideas and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What does the inside of Innovation look like?

  1. Pingback: Design!publiC 2 at NGMA, Bangalore on October 14! |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *