Cumulative Gains in Innovation

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Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

Cumulative gains in Innovation

There is much focus on radical shifts and disruptive technology, but in fact the vast majority of radical shifts result from incremental improvements. This is similar to change in general ? the most significant gains are made by applying what is already known:

a) There is usually no break with the past ? all products are evolutions from that which previously existed.

b) Small incremental changes result in greater shifts over time than single radical movements.

c) Radical shifts result from small changes ? Dell revolutionised computer order and delivery systems by simply applying the Internet model.

d) The Internet itself has a long history of development, which can be traced back to the solid state transistor and beyond.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with an Innovation Bible, Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop, MBA


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Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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