Does Dedicated Innovation Focus Increase Design Success ? Not Necessarily. But It Can.
As innovators aren’t meant to confirm, they are meant to converge, in facing the innovation game’s most complex foe, ROI, the reality is numbers don’t lie. The issue is that the numbers related to what is true efficacy cannot be evaluated without context. However efficiency is not all monetary but unfortunately that is what the basis of innovation focuses on. Use however is a much better metric where the original definition of Innovation by it’s original definition by Joseph Schumpeter is 100% rooted in the world of economics. Schumpeter tried to start a bank, failed, was an economist / finance minister, failed, had nervous breakdowns several times over the course of his life, almost died and pushed himself and his investors with theories of cyclicity – when to buy, how to buy, when to sell, how to sell as a mechanism of how to increase shareholder value. While accurate in the race for ROI, in combination with the notions of how innovation is effected by a gold monetary standard, fiat monetary standard etc., every focus was economic and policy based. This however is not the only basis for innovation and certainly not to be evaluated in isolation. Why? Because micro ( non-societal based innovation efficacy ) at a firm level is executed upon by industrious individuals regardless of external forces. Innovators simply do not stop just because a market says it is time or not time to launch. Innovators innovate because of a perceived or more importantly clear increase in value, specifically, usage and/or soon to be usage.
In The Role of Dedicated Innovation Functions for Innovation Process Control and Performance we see a quite surprising outcome: informal control mechanisms ( when helping innovation along inside an existing organization ) has a positive effect on innovation activity ( more experimentation is taking place & people are trying new things ) and innovation performance ( more breakthroughs are being utilized ) happens out in the field. However, when overly formal control mechanisms having significant positive effect on innovation performance ( usability in the field also contributes to innovation conflict will arise. With the implementation of a dedicated innovation function ( an innovation office, and staff ) to monetize “new” or to help increase usability, this has a direct positive effect on both control mechanisms – the people sheparding new efforts, and innovation activity – people in the field trying, trying, trying, new things. Then however comes the unexpected.
Contrary to expectations, an innovation ( office, and staff ) function’s direct effect on economic or usage performance can be negative which is not surprising for one simple reason: in it’s infancy, innovation, IS invention and in it’s adolescence morphs ( due to conformity to an existing organism lower capabilities ) to new set of environmental forces not previously there eg. the ever famous Apple iPod whose industry incumbents demanded use of DRM as a legal framework for ownership ( from record companies ) which once in place cemented the adoption of new, previous unacceptable design creativity eg. the selection wheel interface. Had the typical model of innovation ( economics OVER experimentation ) taken place, the entire design effort ( of new interfaces, new modalities for digital audio playback use ) may have been thrown out: no one would have seen the value in the experimentation for the purpose of innovation past a few drawings on paper. Or would it ?
Innovation within the context of formal product development is often ascribed to incrementalism and thus new product development efforts. Innovation within the context of informal and often make it happen based experimentalism ( and when necessary evidence of usability is present ) becomes the key to rule breaker mentalities where when convergence occurs at a later time allowing for breakthroughs that force change upon an organism faster than incremental adoption.