Innovation as a Management Challenge

I have maintained all along that innovation is easy. Successful innovation is hard. Anyone can invent something new and by definition is that innovation. The challenge is building something new that people want and will pay for. (Poses a related question of whether free products are innovative?)

This is why I love quotes like this:

The test of an innovation is that it creates value.

Is this not the same test for great product management?

Quote Reference: Management Challenges for the 21st Century by Peter F. Drucker (p.86)

More on this book later.

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    • http://twitter.com/Blackblot Blackblot

      Hi,

      I would just like to comment that invention is an idea that improves an existing solution or offers a conceptually new solution to a problem.

      * Invention – An idea which represents a revolutionary or evolutionary change. I
      * Innovation – The introduction of a product that is new or substantially improved.

      Innovation is the process of converting and commercializing an invention into a product.

      Therfore:
      Innovation = Invention + Utilization

      Thanks and Best Regards,
      Gabriel Steinhardt
      Managing Director | +972-54-6860473 | http://www.blackblot.com
      Blackblot – Product Management Expertise™

    • rcauvin

      The creation of value of is an interesting topic. Many products we would call “innovative” are free. For example, Google searches are free. Now, it's true that Google searches generate revenue (and a lot of it), indirectly through AdWords, but end users don't pay.

      Indeed, imagine Google didn't incorporate advertising in their search results but still had millions of users. I still think we'd say that Google search is innovative and created value.

    • http://betterproduct.blogspot.com Gaurav

      On a similar thought, I was recently discussing about how human desire contributes towards success of a product (http://betterproduct.blogspot.com/2010/04/desir…).

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Thanks for the comment Gabriel. I am not sure I am agree with Innovation = Invention + Utilization. Even your definition states that it is merely the introduction. I can innovate something and no one ever has to use it.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      I have no doubt there are exceptions to the “are free products innovative” comment, but it sure has to make one ask whether my product provides any value if I have to offer it for free. Just a nice gating question, I think.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Great post Gaurav!

    • rcauvin

      Google has a different “gating question”. Check out Marissa Mayer's 8th innovation principle:

      “Users not Money: Focus on giving the users what they want and not on money it will generate. If enough users get what they want, money will follow. Google does not do business cases for launching new features.”

      http://cdoq.blogspot.com/2007/09/googles-manage

      I don't know if I agree completely with Mayer, but I do believe that having millions of users indicates value.

    • davidlocke

      The point of innovation is to create new categories and the jobs that go with them. Products are just a means to get a technology adopted and win category leadership. Creating products to capture cash misses the point. Cash doesn't create jobs that can't be offshored. Sustaining innovation, nice, but so what, the missing millions will continue to be missing. But, why worry about them, since you're not one of them. If we don't create new categories and new jobs, we will be one of them.

      Economists tell us that globalism will be good for “us,” as in who the hell is “us,” in the long run, as in “after people die,” as long as we don't play it as a zero-sum game, as in that's exactly how we are playing it, otherwise we wouldn't lose jobs just because we offshored jobs.

      As for a management challenge, stop with the zero sum game. Stop with the culture fit, contractualized open sourcing, the failure to insist that globalized work meet requirements, and get on with real globalization and innovation. Still, left to their training, managers can't innovate, because they won't insist on separation, and taking the long road to technology adoption. Management insists that innovation fails. Yes, it fails, because of management practices. Stop it. We know how to succeed, but management just can't do that.

    • davidlocke

      It's real easy for Google to say users, not money. They have plenty of money. That mountain of Google money will be the death of the software industry. Google is not a company that any other company can mimic.

      There is a time when seats are more important than money, but a lot of the applications Google comes up with just compete with existing products, and since the category already exists seats are a pointless exercise.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Thanks for the comment Gabriel. I am not sure I am agree with Innovation = Invention + Utilization. Even your definition states that it is merely the introduction. I can innovate something and no one ever has to use it.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Thanks for the comment Gabriel. I am not sure I am agree with Innovation = Invention + Utilization. Even your definition states that it is merely the introduction. I can innovate something and no one ever has to use it.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      I have no doubt there are exceptions to the “are free products innovative” comment, but it sure has to make one ask whether my product provides any value if I have to offer it for free. Just a nice gating question, I think.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      I have no doubt there are exceptions to the “are free products innovative” comment, but it sure has to make one ask whether my product provides any value if I have to offer it for free. Just a nice gating question, I think.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Great post Gaurav!

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Great post Gaurav!

    • rcauvin

      Google has a different “gating question”. Check out Marissa Mayer's 8th innovation principle:

      “Users not Money: Focus on giving the users what they want and not on money it will generate. If enough users get what they want, money will follow. Google does not do business cases for launching new features.”

      http://cdoq.blogspot.com/2007/09/googles-manage

      I don't know if I agree completely with Mayer, but I do believe that having millions of users indicates value.

    • Anonymous

      Google has a different “gating question”. Check out Marissa Mayer’s 8th innovation principle:

      “Users not Money: Focus on giving the users what they want and not on money it will generate. If enough users get what they want, money will follow. Google does not do business cases for launching new features.”

      http://cdoq.blogspot.com/2007/09/googles-management-principles.html

      I don’t know if I agree completely with Mayer, but I do believe that having millions of users indicates value.

    • Anonymous

      The point of innovation is to create new categories and the jobs that go with them. Products are just a means to get a technology adopted and win category leadership. Creating products to capture cash misses the point. Cash doesn’t create jobs that can’t be offshored. Sustaining innovation, nice, but so what, the missing millions will continue to be missing. But, why worry about them, since you’re not one of them. If we don’t create new categories and new jobs, we will be one of them.

      Economists tell us that globalism will be good for “us,” as in who the hell is “us,” in the long run, as in “after people die,” as long as we don’t play it as a zero-sum game, as in that’s exactly how we are playing it, otherwise we wouldn’t lose jobs just because we offshored jobs.

      As for a management challenge, stop with the zero sum game. Stop with the culture fit, contractualized open sourcing, the failure to insist that globalized work meet requirements, and get on with real globalization and innovation. Still, left to their training, managers can’t innovate, because they won’t insist on separation, and taking the long road to technology adoption. Management insists that innovation fails. Yes, it fails, because of management practices. Stop it. We know how to succeed, but management just can’t do that.

    • davidlocke

      The point of innovation is to create new categories and the jobs that go with them. Products are just a means to get a technology adopted and win category leadership. Creating products to capture cash misses the point. Cash doesn't create jobs that can't be offshored. Sustaining innovation, nice, but so what, the missing millions will continue to be missing. But, why worry about them, since you're not one of them. If we don't create new categories and new jobs, we will be one of them.

      Economists tell us that globalism will be good for “us,” as in who the hell is “us,” in the long run, as in “after people die,” as long as we don't play it as a zero-sum game, as in that's exactly how we are playing it, otherwise we wouldn't lose jobs just because we offshored jobs.

      As for a management challenge, stop with the zero sum game. Stop with the culture fit, contractualized open sourcing, the failure to insist that globalized work meet requirements, and get on with real globalization and innovation. Still, left to their training, managers can't innovate, because they won't insist on separation, and taking the long road to technology adoption. Management insists that innovation fails. Yes, it fails, because of management practices. Stop it. We know how to succeed, but management just can't do that.

    • Anonymous

      It’s real easy for Google to say users, not money. They have plenty of money. That mountain of Google money will be the death of the software industry. Google is not a company that any other company can mimic.

      There is a time when seats are more important than money, but a lot of the applications Google comes up with just compete with existing products, and since the category already exists seats are a pointless exercise.

    • davidlocke

      It's real easy for Google to say users, not money. They have plenty of money. That mountain of Google money will be the death of the software industry. Google is not a company that any other company can mimic.

      There is a time when seats are more important than money, but a lot of the applications Google comes up with just compete with existing products, and since the category already exists seats are a pointless exercise.