Innovation includes making a match between a solution and a community

  1. Rules of InnovationInnovations are new to a community.
    The newness comes from a new technology-community relationship. Innovators marry an invention with a community, thereby making an invention innovative.
  2. Many people are affected by and have an effect on an innovation.
    We tend to focus on the user or the point of purchase when assessing a technology for market. Many more people, however, are affected by and actually affect an innovation. Sometimes, the end user is not the person making the buying decision (e.g. large organizational purchases, governmental contracts, minors with adult purchasers). Separate from the organizational stakeholders, an innovation relies upon users, ancillary materials, technologies, and organizations to survive.
  3. Innovations disrupt the status quo.
    The goal of innovations is to upset current beliefs, behavior, relationships, and technologies for a given community. Innovations are a shared responsibility.
  4. Innovations are a shared responsibility.
    By viewing the innovative process as bringing together technology and communities, the innovation and its consequences become a shared responsibility. The community has a responsibility to use the technology within a given range of permissible behaviors and to incorporate rules and norms to support the technology. The innovating firm, however, has a responsibility to understand the community into which the innovation is being introduced.
  5. Successful innovations require continual modifications.
    “Nothing works the first time.” Those innovators who have the tenacity to remain engaged with the community to both understand their needs, norms, laws, and beliefs and modify their innovations to meet the community, increase the longevity of their technology while continuing to take responsibility for their portion of the innovation.
  6. Features matter.
    Finally, small design decisions make a difference in the use, consequences, and sustainability of an innovation. Many times these differences in features set apart the successful from the unsuccessful innovations.
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