Chapter 4

Invention: Creating Something New

If inquiry is the solid foundation of grounded innovation, invention is what makes it fly. The risk of relying too much on inquiry is always that by staying too close to what we already know—whether it is technical details or user studies—we will produce only incremental improvements to existing technology or obvious solutions to well-known problems. Without new ideas, there can be no radical innovation.

But where do new ideas come from? The—perhaps surprising—truth is that ideas are usually the easiest thing to produce in an innovation process. For example, a group manager at Apple Research Labs was quoted as saying that as he walked from his office to the cafeteria he could “easily come up with 20 ...

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