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Knowledge Works: The Handbook of Practical Ways to Identify and Solve Common Organizational Problems for Better Performance by Jane McKenzie, Christine van Winkelen

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Section III

Stimulate innovation

Chapter 6 – Building knowledge enabled innovation capability

Chapter 7 – Retaining and developing expertise

It has been said that modern organizations need to innovate or die. Certainly, in the long term, few organizations thrive without maintaining a constant stream of innovation. It’s part of the dynamics of surviving in a global knowledge economy.

What Do We Mean by Innovation?

You might describe it as a previously unknown or unrecognized way to fill a gap in our capacity to handle some part of our world. The result could be a better way of doing or achieving something or a mechanism which overcomes some frustration or inconvenience. It could be a radical disruptive innovation that brings into question many of the most cherished assumptions about how we go about familiar practices, for example, the motor car, electricity, or digital technology which were all disruptive innovations in their time. Or it could be an improvement to existing ways of doing something, for example, text messaging which now allows asynchronous communication on the move. However the source is almost always a connection between two previously unconnected pieces of existing knowledge. Very rarely is the source something completely unknown to anyone, although fundamental research does sporadically throw up some truly valuable new knowledge that becomes the root of many new innovations, for example decoding the structure of DNA or mapping the human genome.

In between the knowledge ...

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