Now that just about every business seems to have realized that it is unlikely to survive, let alone flourish simply by doing what it has always done, the word “innovation” has become a standard part of the executive’s lexicon. Because of this – and the related fact that it means too many different things to different people – it has become something of a “motherhood” and “apple pie” issue. Just as it has become commonplace to talk of employees as “the greatest asset” and, latterly, as “talent,” so it is standard for companies to claim to be innovative. Even when they are serious about it, much of the discussion focuses on the mechanics of idea generation and exploitation – R&D pipelines, brain storming, market research and the rest – rather than what actually makes it happen.
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