Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Someone to watch: Jay Paap

A name that keeps coming up in my research into open innovation best practices is Jay Paap. I recently heard him speak at was impressed at the clarity he has on the definitions of terms related to innovation. Here is a passage I recently came across of his work that illustrates what I mean. He differentiates invention, discovery, innovation and when and when not to do Technology Scouting:

Innovation means that we take a technology and are the first to apply it to a problem or a need that our customers have. It’s different than invention. It’s different than discovery. You do not have innovation unless someone actually buys or uses your product. People do not use something unless there is a need. So you may not know the need for sure when you develop it.

If you’re trying to figure out what’s going to disrupt you, you don’t look for technology. You look for changes in needs. If needs remain constant, and there’s a lot of maturity left in your technology, there’s probably not going to be substitution. You don’t need scouting. If the needs are constant, and your technology is running out of steam, you need scouting to find the next replacement technology.

Listen to your customers. Not what they ask for, but what they do. Look at how they use your product. Look at the problems they have. Look at the environment in which they are operating and try to anticipate what the next generation of drivers are going to be when the current generation of drivers are satisfied. Then go out and find analogues in other industries that have addressed these problems and borrow that technology, or adapt that technology in ways that will allow you to go forward.

Source: Management Roundtable


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