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Cris Beswick

Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation

Read more from Cris Beswick

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Technology – Innovation or invention

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When you are looking to shape the future where do you start?  Perhaps you hold long meetings to which you have invited everyone who you think might have an interest and which consequently ramble on without ever coming to a conclusion.  Or perhaps you isolate a small group in a room and task them to come up with something new?  Or just maybe, you stop trying to build the future back from some as yet unknown conclusion and instead look around at real problems which you can solve now.

If you chose that last course of action then congratulations, you may well be on your way to being an innovative organisation.  If you chose one of the other options, then I’m not really surprised because it simply means that you have got caught in the trap which ensnares those who confuse innovation with invention. 

We come across it so many times; the drive towards doing something new, towards capturing the market by inventing a new product, towards turning the business around with a new invention.  But stop and think for a moment and you will see that pure inventions are few and far between.  Think a little more and you will see that the true game changers are generally those who have taken existing products and existing concepts and used them in a game changing way.  The microchip, the camera, the phone and the portable radio were around long before Apple hit the marketplace but what they did was to come up with an innovative concept which combined them in a way which resonated with the marketplace.  Fire had been around long before the Romans came on the scene but they came up with the innovative concept of using the fire to warm air which was ducted to provide warm floors.   

The vast majority of technological changes simply make innovative use of existing processes and products.  And success comes when the new or improved product or service provides a realistic and affordable solution which resonates with the marketplace.  It’s not always an easy concept to grasp.  Turning a process driven culture around to one which looks for innovative solutions may require leadership and employees alike to be trained to adapt to more open and collaborative ways of working.  But the rewards are there in the form of employee engagement, loyal customers, enhanced profitability and eager investors.  So if you truly want to shape the future for your organisation then it may be time to stop tasking the few to invent and instead work with the many to innovate solutions.

If you’d like to learn more about shaping the future through adopting an innovation culture feel free to email Cris at cris@thefutureshapers.com or visit www.thefutureshapers.com for more information on how Cris and his team help some of the worlds smartest companies succeed through innovation.

Author Profile Picture
Cris Beswick

Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation

Read more from Cris Beswick
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