“Innovation” means different things to different people but, generally, it involves the application of novel ideas, products or processes for some purpose. But even if we can agree on “what” it is, do we understand “how” innovation happens?
There is a significant change taking place in the way that the process of innovation is understood. We can put this in the context of developments in the manageability of other areas of business activity in recent times.
“Selling” in the 1970s
Until about the 1970s in most organisations, “selling” was done by salesman who used skills with which they were born, rather than trained; they had a reputation for being overly friendly and free spirits! The concepts of describing the process of “selling”, of managing these people through the process and of training others who were not “born salesmen” to follow it were not given much credibility. But then, at about that time, came the realisation that the activities of selling do follow patterns and we can identify stages and describe sales funnels, measure what is happening, and so on.