HOW DO I MEASURE INNOVATION? Let me Count the Ways

Innovation Dies in the Board Room

Innovation Dies in the Board Room (Photo credit: thecrispone)

How do I Measure Innovation? 

Let me Count the Ways…

1. There are fundamental prerequisites:

  • a spirit of creativity, an attitude of enquiry and a mentality of curiosity;
  • but these can’t be quantified and thus don’t become comparables.

2. Then there are persistence and perseverance, the commitment to pursue and the courage to hang in there:

  • for the world at large does not like innovation, ‘cause it does not like change;
  • institutions and corporations are not made for brave enquiries, creative spirits and innovative thinkers;
  • in times of increasing insecurity, people hold on to their job at all cost and don’t risk thinking: outside pre-fabricated boxes? Beyond templated framesets? Without regurgitating existing phrases?
  • the business of competition and the challenge of excellence are but hollow sound bytes in a climate of pressures and expectations;

3. But the Japanese measure success in the number of risks taken:

  • and so do innovators count their rejections, stack up their misunderstandings and keep on working;
  • for there have been countless others who suffered the same fate;
  • there have been innumerable artists and inventors, creatives and innovators who keep trying to convey what they see and know, what they think and understand.

4. Yet as beauty is in the eye of the ‘beholder’, so is innovation in the mind of the assessor of innovators who dare to think:

  • with logic and concepts, in order and systems
  • it takes courage to question, curiosity to try and logic to persist.

5. And when innovation is understood by others but the innovator, then there is breakthrough, then there are shifts:

  • of paradigms and mindsets, of fashions and trends, of beliefs and values;
  • for knowledge is as individual as insights are;
  • and individual ideas need to be cherished and polished;
  • before they are robust enough to touch ground – on collective platforms of competition – in corporate boardrooms of bottom lines.

6. Meanwhile the innovators stick to their guns: for they can’t escape providence,
they have to fulfil their destiny – no matter what the world may think, irrespective of societal consequences.

  • Innovators are ahead of their time. But the Zeitgeist knows their ideas. And thus their time will come when their ideas become accepted: by but a pithy few, a minute minority.
  • But wait till the time is right: for nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come! [Victor Hugo]

November 2006

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