Article: Innovation Management what are the practical impediments?

by Kal Bishop

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

One of the useful methods of valuing ideas is to analyse the practical impediments that may impede an ideas progress to commercial success.

One of the useful models is Utterbacks (1994) Scurve, which describes how the performance and cost characteristics of a technology change with time and continued investments.

The performance of the established technology improves over time, at first rapidly, and then more slowly until maturity as years of improvement exhaust opportunities to better cost and performance (e.g. Windows in 2005, MS Office).

When the new technology first arrives (e.g. Linux, OpenOffice) it is crude compared to the existing, with many issues still unresolved. At this point it may be written off.

These problems are gradually resolved over time and ultimately the innovation is able to compete with the cost performance characteristics of other players. Then it is picked up by lead users who value it highly, and goes on to win market share through a variety of mechanisms.

By plotting an idea against the Scurve, it is possible to gauge how long before an idea is able to engage with rivals. Major barriers also include cultural and emotional objections. For example, condoms have a low takeup rate in Africa, despite the prevalence of Aids, because of cultural taboos.

These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop, MBA

You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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