13 May 2011 | Editor
On the surface, Malcolm Gladwell’s latest article for The New Yorker, "Creation Myth: Xerox PARC, Apple, and the truth about innovation", is a story about the mouse and how inventions travel – and evolve – across time and place. But examined more deeply, the article is really about the factors that determine whether you end up with an invention or an innovation. The story of PARC – and for that matter, any other innovative company – is indeed a mix of hopeful inventions, world-changing innovations, and missed opportunities, as Gladwell observes. But there's more – in contrast to his thesis that there’s a clean split between invention and innovation, and that companies are structurally limited in their innovation opportunities – we believe that there is now a framework that allows companies to innovate beyond their comfort zones and existing infrastructures. It's called open innovation.
22 February 2011 | Lawrence Lee
[contributed post to Xconomy] How do we balance the seemingly conflicting goals of long-term research vs. short-term profits, of creating breakthrough innovations vs. providing client services, of diversifying research into many markets vs. developing critical mass in just a few?
31 March 2010 | Mark Bernstein
[The Economist invited us to contribute an abridged version of this post, "How do you define innovation?", for their blog.] Innovation is a sorely overused word. Yet we are constantly asked to define it. A number of theorists and practitioners have offered up their variations: product innovation, business model innovation, technology innovation, design innovation, radical innovation, incremental innovation, disruptive innovation, open innovation…and so the list goes on. All are useful; none are complete. I don't have a pat answer, catchy definition, or compelling metaphor for this. But here’s what I do know: however it is defined, innovation is a valuable change, unconstrained by the way things are. I think I can safely claim that we’re speaking from experience…
3 March 2010 | Mark Bernstein
PARC hosted a fieldtrip for TTI/Vanguard attendees following their recent "Shifts Happen" conference in San Francisco. [Through private conferences that they describe as "part classroom, part think-tank, and part laboratory", TTI/Vanguard is a forum for senior-level executives that links strategic technology planning to business success.] Surprisingly, the questions I was asked before and after the demo-presentation tour weren’t that different. Basically, folks were looking for simple answers or replicable formulas to some pretty fundamental challenges: How do we do what we do? How do we do it differently than before? How do we make the right choices? There's no single formula, but...
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