02/23/07 - innovation

In today's excerpt - groundbreaking management theorist Peter Drucker on innovation:

"There are innovators who are 'kissed by the Muses' and whose innovations are the result of a 'flash of genius' rather than of hard, organized, purposeful work. But such innovations cannot be replicated. They cannot be taught and they cannot be learned. ...

"But also, contrary to popular belief in the romance of invention and innovation, 'flashes of genius' are uncommonly rare. What is worse, I know of not one such 'flash of genius' that turned into an innovation. They all remained brilliant ideas.

"The purposeful innovation resulting from analysis, system, and hard work is all that can be discussed and presented as the practice of innovation. ... And the extraordinary performer in innovation, as in every other area, will be effective only if grounded in the discipline and master of it.

"Purposeful, systematic innovation begins with the analysis of ... the seven sources of opportunity: ... [which are] the organization's own unexpected successes and failures ... incongruities ... process needs ... changes in market structures ... changes in demographics ... changes in meaning and perception ... [and] new knowledge. All sources of innovative opportunity should be systematically analyzed and studied. It is not enough to be alerted to them. ...

"An innovation, to be effective, has to be simple and it has to be focused. It should do only one thing; otherwise it confuses. If it is not simple, it won't work. ... All effective innovations are breathtakingly simple. Indeed, the greatest praise an innovation can receive is for people to say, 'This is obvious. Why didn't I think of it?' "


Peter F. Drucker


The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management


First HarperBusiness


Copyright 2001 Peter F. Drucker


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