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Innovation is not a process, but an outcome.”

The Forbes Leadership Forum brings renowned speakers and thought leaders who discuss their leadership strategies. As a speaker at the Forum, Gower Author Alexander Manu was interviewed by Shaku Selvakumar for the IBM Impact 2011 Blog. In this interview Manu discusses in-depth the concepts of Imagination and Innovation in business  Extract:

The redefinition of innovation as a human behaviour outcome, a dynamic in constant change, requires the shaping of new responses in business and the economy. 

The past understanding of what innovation “is”, was generally connected with a breakthrough in technology – some new tool being employed in some new way. This understanding limits the potential of innovation as bound by the tools employed, instead of the imagination employing them. The latent imagination triggered by an innovation outcome is the true goal of innovation. It is not what “I can do with this now”? but “what can I become doing this in the future”? The tool is not a response, but a question. Every innovation is a question. The truly important innovations are a series of questions.

A few definitions:  Innovation is an outcome, a new behaviour, a new way of doing things.  Disruption is a behavior – an outcome involving a media and a user – changed by invention. Invention is a moment of discovery or creation of something new. Disruptive Business means the sum of new behaviours and their support models. Innovation is a moment of use, a manifest behaviour that engages an innovation object into new uses, and modifies the habitual conditions of the present.

This position challenges the current understanding of innovation, and some of the labels applied to innovation typologies, such as the label  “disruptive innovation”. In general, the current discourse around innovation addresses competently the technology side of an invention, at the expense of the motivational side of the user, the human motivation which leads in the behaviour of use.

Disruptive Business

Alexander Manu is Chief Imaginator and Senior Partner at InnoSpa. He is the author of Distruptive Business: Desire, Innovation and the Re-design of Business published by Gower.