Your customers as your research and development department?

Is creativity and innovation the preserve of special individuals and groups? What if some of the mainstream western cultural ideas about specialist creatives having wondrous Eureka! moments are not quite right?

What if, instead, innovation is largely about embellishment within established parameters?

If so, then your company website, at the very least, should have its comment functionality switched on. You should engage with your customers and visitors. Your customers’ embellishments may give you an insight into an emerging market… perhaps openness could lead you to multiply your productivity?

Watch Charles Leadbeater on innovation:

Bonus links:
David Byrne on collective creativity

“Folk, blues, house music, pop, hip hop and lots of other musical genres might be viewed the same way—not so much as individual songs or acts of unique creativity, but as the cumulative result of many creative narrators pitching in to tweak a form that already has a given and collectively accepted shape and framework. The equivalent of the narrative arc of a story is already there in these song forms, and we songwriters, producers and singers are the storytellers in our own oral tradition—putting our own spin on an existing form, but not making substantial changes in the form itself. The point is, a lot of music that we think of as being individual acts of creation might actually be narrators contributing to what might be viewed as a larger epic work.”

Also, from Yasser Rashid’s blog post about innovative user experience and design:
“This grass roots approach that was taken to create the mountain bike is similar to the approach we need to take in a big organisation. Innovation needs to be part of the culture of day to day work and people need to be empowered to be able to act on ideas they feel are important to pursue.”

Which then reminds me of Nick Reynold’s definition of a product:

“It’s a dynamic mix of human beings and technology that never stops working. You have to constantly develop if it is to suceed, or even simply survive”.

Which reminds of superorganisms…

Video from: Ants! Natures Secret Power. A giant ant colony is pumped full of concrete, then excavated to reveal the complexity of its inner structure.

Related ideas:
Open-ness
Super-organisms
Platforms
Making is connecting

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