Innovative opportunities to satisfy process needs

John W Lewis's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, Mar 10, 2016

Changes in the needs for processes are a source of opportunities for potential increases in effectiveness. This also includes changes in the available means to satisfy those process needs.

This is the fifth episode in our seven part series on the sources of opportunity for innovation, as identified by Peter Drucker in his book, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in 1985.

Opportunities to satisfy changes in process needs may also emerge from sources that are combined with other types of source of opportunity, including those discussed in other episodes in this #innochat series.

Here are some examples of fields in which these kinds of innovation have occurred.


An example that Drucker uses in his book, and which has continued to develop since then, is photography. The earliest photographers contended with large glass plates. These, and the cameras that used them, were bulky, heavy and fragile. Also the processes of lighting scenes, taking photographs, and on-site chemical processing were complex.

Photography advanced through multiple developments, including photographic film (notably by George Eastman of Kodak), much faster development processes (for example, by Edwin Land of Polaroid), and more recently, through digital photography. Not only the activity of taking photographs, but the whole end-to-end process wass changed by these developments.


Another area of examples of changes in the means to satisfy process needs is in transport, for both passengers and goods. While, in some cases for passengers, there are some benefits in the journey itself, in most cases the primary objective is to reach the destination quickly, cheaply, safely, reliably, and comfortable. Over time, and in different circumstances, the most effective means to achieve that has varied. Canals, railways and roads, ships, and aircraft have all played roles in developments in the means to satisfy needs for transport.


Yet another example is the heating of buildings. There are many processes by which this can be done. Over time, and for different purposes, the optimal choice of power source and means of distributing heat varies.

Of course, there are many other fields where goods, services, and both are delivered tbrough processes which have changed and whose needs have changed radically over time.


Let's discuss opportunities for innovation through changes in process needs and the means to satisfy them during #innochat on Twitter at 12 noon Eastern time on Thursday March 10th 2016, based on the following questions:

  1. What examples do you have of innovation through changes in process needs or in the means to satisfy them?
  2. To what extent is the customer or user involved in the adoption of these innovations?
  3. What barriers are there to the adoption of innovative processes?
  4. How can we uncover opportunities for innovative processes?
  5. How can we overcome the barriers to adoption of innovative processes?


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