Where Does Innovation Come From?

Apple Peeler and Corer
Apple Peeler and Corer

This weekend I made a delicious apple pie. I must say, it was one of the best pies ever (although not as good as a blackberry pie – which is my favorite). As I made the pie, and readied myself to peel the apples, my wife reminded me of our “handy dandy apple peeler and corer and slicer thing (see image).” It’s so cool – and makes the process super slick and easy. As I used it I couldn’t help but think, so who made this? Who came up with the idea for this handy dandy thing?

Innovation is an interesting… process?! Innovation is needed in all components of life. Graphic designers are in need of it. Industrial designers are in need of it. Engineers are in need of it. Scientists are in need of it. Writers are in need of it. Teachers are in need of it. Heck, even pie making parents are in need of it. Why, do we all need it? Because innovation is making something new – where new is needed! Creativity is just an element of innovation – it’s the starting point. Innovation in the most general, but specific sense is: creating useful creative things (processes, systems, or products). Some creative things are not that useful – therefore they are not innovative. Innovativeness is classified as high in usefulness (but an outgrowth of creativity).

So, how do you promote innovation. Here is a simple recipe: 1.) Be observant, 2.) Experience things while being observant, 3.) Experience things, while being observant, while looking for “pain points” (areas that just don’t work well, could be done better, could be facilitated, etc. Of course sometimes you can just observe, but observation coupled with experience and pain points is like Marion Jones on PED – it just goes faster.