The cartoon above depicts a common problem in hi-tech companies: Someone invents a new technology, but is not able to promote its adoption. I think the solution is that instead of just providing the “wheels”, we need to build a prototype of the entire vehicle and then show how it can transport real stones…
The main problem with just inventing the wheels is that it may be very difficult to demonstrate its business value. Very often a new technology is only useful as part of a more complex system, and until this technology has not been integrated in such a system its potential contribution is only hypothetical.
In contrast, the picture below displays the wrong and right ways to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). In both cases we have a form of incremental development. But in the wrong way the initial stages are such that the business value cannot be assessed. In the right way the business value is evident from the beginning, even if the initial versions are quite different from the final product.
Therefore, Invention is not enough for Innovation. For an invention to be adopted we must be able to prove its value. For an additional discussion on this topic, please see also my article about the Minimum Viable Product and Incremental Software Development.
What do you think? What has been your experience with Invention and Innovation? Please share with us in the comments below.