Barriers to innovation are falling like dominoes. Access to technology, capital, expertise and time have all been disrupted. Meanwhile, leading organizations are learning that the ‘triple crown’ of innovation includes carving out creative spaces, providing the “right” incentives and establishing clear initiative ownership. Despite organizations embedding innovation and creative initiative’s in-house, the tools needed to go from idea to reality are increasingly at everyone’s fingertips. Advancements in at-home manufacturing techniques and the disintegrating human-digital divide in combination with all of the above are making innovation to pop-up in unexpected (and unpredictable) places.
Let the countdown to innovation and creativity begin.
WHERE WE’RE GOING, WE DON’T NEED BARRIERS.
BARRIERS TO INNOVATION ARE FALLING LIKE DOMINOES.
ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY
Taking an idea to market used to require significant upfront investments in technology. As cloud technologies (PaaS, IaaS, SaaS, APIs) continue to mature, gaining access to cutting edge technology is as simple as entering credit card information.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL
Funding has always been the roadblock impeding progress on the innovation superhighway. Thankfully, it’s beginning to crumble. The advent of crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Gofundme have created the ultimate consumer feedback engine, with consumers paying for the privilege to fund the innovations they desire most.
ACCESS TO EXPERTISE
The vision of the internet as a viable educational medium is beginning to achieve it’s ultimate goal: the democratization of information. Providers such as Github, CodeAcademy, Coursera and edX have significantly reduced the gap between great ideas and the high-tech skills needed to make them a reality.
ACCESS TO TIME
New concepts live and die by the ability to be first-to-market. Although it’s not possible to add a 25th hour to the day (yet), agile methodologies have been shown to improve flexibility, speed, and responsiveness from ideation to improvement.
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL INNOVATE.
SPACES, INCENTIVES & OWNERSHIP: THE INNOVATION TRIPLE CROWN.
While inspiration can strike anywhere, leading organizations understand how physical space can foster the creative spirit of their inhabitants. This notion has led to an increase in shared and configurable office spaces, (un)-structured idea walls, whiteboard-everything and innovation labs.
3M’s storied 15 percent time. Salesforce’s Hackathon. Square’s Hack Week. The most innovative organizations are leveraging creative incentives (vis-à-vis gamification) and alternative work dynamics to foster innovation. Although the specific may vary, Gartner predicts that by 2014, 70% of all firms will have at least one gamification tool in their arsenal.
Innovation is more than a concept; it’s a core function of a successful enterprise. And, just like any other core business function, more organizations are realizing that measurement drives behavior. According to a recent Accenture survey, 60% of respondents now have a Chief Innovation Officer or comparable position. Even more common, 9 in 10 are “formally evaluated on innovation activities” (up from only 64% in 2009).
INNOVATION BEGINS WITH ‘I’.
INNOVATION IS (LITERALLY) AT OUR FINGERTIPS.
JUST DO IT (YOURSELF)
Advances in at-home manufacturing techniques (such as 3D printing) and the rise of open-access, community-oriented D.I.Y. ‘maker-spaces’ has brought the manufacturing floor home. Now, people from all walks of life can gain access to advanced manufacturing tools and training to bring their ideas and prototypes to life.
THE DISINTIGRATING HUMAN-DIGITAL DIVIDE
Although the computer era officially began in the 1940’s, it wasn’t until Xerox developed the Alto and it’s “revolutionary” mouse and graphical user interface in 1973 that the innovative power of the technology became accessible to the non-expert. Even then, the first personal/home computer was still about a decade away. With the explosion in new UIs (multi-touch, gesture/motion, voice, augmented/virtual reality, and wearables/implantables), we’re on the cusp of a similar revolution. Although Ray Kurzweil and his fellow futurists may disagree, the possibilities are unimaginable.
INNOVATION IS UNPREDICTABLE
The desire to forecast the future is innately human. While we can track trends and the likelihood of future ‘innovations’ based off of today’s current navigation, the most exciting part of counting down to innovation is the unknown of when the next big ‘launch’ will occur.