Touring innovation space

Welcome inside the space of varied enterprise innovations. On our tour, we will visit each of the four domains with their unique approaches to innovation. We'll take the time to comprehend why each approach makes sense within its own parameters and endures among the competing approaches.

First we come to the realm of innovations for show. These innovations become short-lived fads. They serve little purpose besides offering newness, variety and thrilling unknowns at first. They get old quickly and generate no loyalty from those who get excited by their introduction. The success of innovations for show depend on making a big splash at the initial launch, release or rollout. They appeal to trend setters, fashionistas and early adopters. They rely on the same reaction patterns as mating instincts in nature. The innovation does a courtship dance, display of plumage or mating call to attract new fans. Once the thrill is gone, the fans get bored and move on. They call for a more showy innovation the next time around.

Next we arrive at the realm of innovations for self-preservation. Some of these innovations become the next industry standards that others feel compelled to imitate. They add new features and benefits to an established brand, product category or business model. They keep the established providers and industry structure in place. They offer such comprehensive service, support and follow through that they appeal to our herding instincts. Everyone who is seeking safety in numbers, thinking alike and following the crowd -- will favor these low-risk innovations. They attract buyers known for their loyalty, routine purchases, stockpiles of supplies. These innovations are prone to feature creep, excessive sophistication and loss of user-friendliness until the herd rejects the innovations and favors the previous version.

Now we find ourselves in the realm of innovations for impact. These innovations create new market spaces. They find customers in their space which reveals how to provide something far more valuable, effective, useful and creative. These innovations make a different difference than innovations for show or self-preservation. They successfully get into the customers' heads to see what is: the real problem to solve, the real issues behind lingering hesitation and the real concerns underlying complaints. The new product/service mix works with the buyers as if the innovation is on their team, in their corner or watching their back. The value realized by users is intrinsic and tied to the strength of the relationship with the seller. They become self-motivated to try it before they buy it, consider bigger purchases and tell their friends about their satisfaction with their experience. These innovations appeal to the hunting instinct which learns to accurately judge unfamiliar characters, opportunities and potential ambushes.
Finally we arrive in the realm of innovations for cooperation. These appeal to our adaptation instinct amidst new constraints, invasions, hardships and setbacks. We find ways to combine resources, share surpluses and realize new solutions. These innovations can enter new ground like pioneer species, They can grow in inhospitable places and make way for subsequent developments. These innovations deconstruct formal roles and identities. The customers act like employees some of the time while employees get served like internal customers. The outsiders become sources of innovations that get internalized as revised products, services, bundles, and systems. The insiders becomes explorers of new territories like the customers' customers, the buyers' own constituencies and the decision maker's battles to get full use of the purchase. Micro innovations support the dissemination "on the ground" or in each niche of specialized considerations.

When you're thinking about developing an innovation, you'd be wise to consider these four realms. Your innovation will likely come from one of these and appeal to a particular "instinct" and not the other three. It will be apparent to the market which of these realms your innovation is coming from and which interest of theirs you're attempting to arouse. You can now proceed with a deliberate intention to realize a particular appeal or get surprised by the reaction your innovation gets. That concludes this tour.

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