Innovation – is it KISS or MIC?
By Roger La Salle
Remember KISS – Well now it’s MIC
As innovation seems to grow ever more complex it seems we now also have “Scientific Innovation”, “Science Based Innovation”, “Creative Innovation” (this term seems to reek of repetition) and now the “Psychology of Innovation”, presumably the latter being a term coined by the technically challenged.
Some time ago I wrote an article entitled “Onions” and suggested that the purveyors of the art of innovation seem to be forever inventing new terms to describe the simple art of changing things to add value – the true definition of innovation. I first coined this definition in a book I wrote some 15 years ago. Fittingly, many others have now adopted this definition, but that has not stopped the flow of new invented terms to keep the innovation consulting space alive and well.
No longer is it KISS (Keep it simple) now it seems to be MIC (Make it complex).
Can increments be really called innovations?
Some operators in this space shun incremental innovation, indeed they even fail to recognise this as true innovation suggesting that the term should be reserved for major things.
Each to their own opinion of course, but personally I would call any change that is made for the purpose of adding value and thus winning new or more markets is innovation.
Similarly, changes though slight, can have a profound effect. I just wonder where those types of innovation fit into the landscape of the big change thinkers.
Some examples, insignificant in the context of major change, but dramatic in effect.
• The hollow point bullet
• Winglets on the tip of aircraft wings
• Sterilization preceding surgery
• Shatterproof glass
• Star drive headed screws
• Serrations on the blade of a knife, and so on.
Maybe only big changes are innovation!
Minor changes can have big effects, like those mentioned above that can be easily developed, but that should not diminish their status as innovations.
Still others though minor in the context of change can present high technical challenges, but the challenges, alone should not be what allows them to wear the badge of true innovation. The Harrier vertical take-off jet fighter would be one such innovation. Simple in nature but immensely complex in development.
In my view those pushing these new terms of “Scientific Innovation”, Science Based Innovation”, “Creative Innovation” and the “Psychology of innovation” should remember the old axiom, Keep it Simple.
In short don’t be led astray by the ever growing layers being added to the innovation onion. Keep it simple, identify the opportunity and then innovate, or in simple terms, make changes that add value. The tools of innovation are the power that drives these changes whether they are large or increments – who really cares, it’s the effect that counts.
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Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.matrixthinking.com