Innovation Management ? Famous Failures!

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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 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.

However, commercial success is not the only measure of success. One other method of gauging success is the effect on culture and the market ? is it significant or not? Examples include:

a) Napster ? so successful it went bust. It influenced Kazaa, whose founders went on to start Skype ? free international telephone calls for everyone. Forced Telecoms companies to realise that their future revenues will not come from fixed line income but content delivery.

b) Concorde ? technically superior. Elegant. World famous. Bust.

c) Xerox invented the mouse and graphical user interface. But they didn't invest in its potential.

d) The big Studios didn't see the potential of toy licensing before Star Wars. They learned a big lesson.

e) New Coke. Please don't mess with out cultural icon.

These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a 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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