Why Do We Need to Segment Innovation?

Why Do We Need to Segment Innovation?An article from Business Insider, that I read in Entrepreneur magazine, led me to write this blog! Innovation is broad and encompasses many things. Textbooks seem to want to give names to phases and to the journey/experience of innovation, why is that?

With all due respect to the authors who promote the necessity of such categorization, I totally disagree. As you read this article, you see nice buckets identified with company names. Wrong. Apple is a Need Seeker, market reader and tech driver and if we need more categories, visionary and influencer. Google is also a leader in all categories and so is Samsung. All at various degrees. To put Apple in the Need Seeker category and Google in the tech driver, implies that Google is not visionary, does not identify needs or is a market reader. Simple answer: MAPS in Google! Samsung: Galaxy Phones. Apple: You know the story!

So, let’s look at innovation for what innovation is: it is broad and encompassing and to innovate you have to be all of the above. So, while it is a good mental exercise to create buckets and quadrants and nicely (and cleanly though inaccurately) place companies in these magical buckets, not only it is wrong but adds no value. It is a benign discussion. It has one other major drawback and that is the fact that it can incorrectly influence a weak mind! We need to arm people and inform them such that they can make the categorization decisions and bring their knowledge and perspective into the fold and not influence them with this and the other. We need to ask ourselves, are we helping people more by dictating facts OR are we better off letting them think?!

The good news is that we are seeing less and less of the pointless categorization (an exercise that the likes of Gartner began) and more of independent thinking and processing. So next time you see this categorization, I hope you will stop, think and determine what you think about who belongs in which category and hopefully you will see a continuum.

Innovation and market influence is on a continuum basis and not nicely defined buckets. So let’s let highly intelligent people think and process rather than dictate categories with names!

What do you think?

image credit: marriedwithtwins

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Women in a Culture of DisruptionLinda Bernardi is a Technology Strategist, Investor, and Founder & CEO at StraTerra Partners, The Bernardi Leadership Institute and a Strategic Advisor at Cloudant Inc.  She is also the Author of Provoke, Why the Global Culture of Disruption is the Only Hope for Innovation. For more information: www.lindabernardi.com

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