Is Innovation only Ideas?

John W Lewis's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, Nov 30, 2017

Do think that Innovation is primarily about Ideas? This view is widespread and has been given a boost by the recent publication of the UK's Industrial Strategy document. We have discussed the relationship between innovation and ideas several times in the past, but not recently. Its time has come again!

On those occasions, our choice of topic was based on a variety of factors, not least Peter Drucker's categorisation of "ideas" as not being one the seven primary sources of opportunity for innovation. Here are the framing posts for those #innochat s:

Innovative opportunities: any ideas?

Ideas and their role in innovation

Ideas are two-a-penny!

Now we have the UK's newly published Industrial Strategy white paper which identifies five "foundations" for the strategy, and four "challenges" on which the strategy focusses.
In the introduction by the government minister for this area, the first of the five foundations is described as "innovation", but in the rest of the document, the heading for the first foundation is "Ideas".

The importance of "innovation" to the strategy is evident, as the term is used 150 times in the 254 page document. So is this important foundation labelled as "Ideas" simply because "ideas" is more digestible and easily understood than "innovation". Perpetuating the view that innovation is primarily about ideas is a substantial price to pay for the use of this simplistic label.


What is the world coming to?! ;-) Is innovation seen to be nothing but ideas?! Let's discuss this during #innochat on Twitter on Thursday November 30th 2017 at 12 noon Eastern time. Join us then!


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