Graham Plaster

culture + diplomacy + ethics + smart power + technology + humanities + entrepreneurship + philosophy

The Innovation Spectrum

When people use the word “innovation” they tend to lump together both ends of what I see as a spectrum.  As a result, they don’t know how to describe the kind of innovation they want, or how to find it.

The “innovation spectrum” I am describing goes from zero to n, where zero is considered innovation ex nihilo – innovation from nothing (theoretically) and n is innovation based on anything that has been created before.

“0 to 1” innovation, as Peter Thiel likes to call it, also known as moonshot innovation or blue sky innovation, is about creating things that are brand new. This type of innovation is often done before a particular market demand or government demand signal is specified. Therefore it is considered higher risk and potentially higher reward.

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On the left side one finds people who come up with ideas without immediate application or market demand.  On the right, you find people for whom immediate application and market demand are the muse for creation.  On the left, motivations can be more related to curiosity and wonder. On the right, motivations can be rooted in solving an immediate problem for an immediate return on investment.  On the left you might find some people who are content with doing research for its own sake.  On the right, you might find some people who quickly dismiss ideas that don’t have an immediate practical application.It is important to note that both sides of the spectrum include innovative people, although motivations and tolerance for risk may look different.  Where are you on the line?  What types of people do you hang out with?  Where do you go to find innovation of either type?provide you comments via LinkedIn

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