Chapter 1

The Innovation Challenge

A brilliant editor once told me that all news is local. In other words, unless the news has a direct impact on you or someone you know, it is largely irrelevant.

His observation also applies to IT innovation. A new tool or solution qualifies as innovation when it delivers a tangible benefit that helps you perform a task or achieve an objective faster, better, and more cost effectively than before. When it does not deliver a tangible benefit that leads to some kind of measurable improvement, I do not think it qualifies as innovation.

It is quite possible that a particular innovation can deliver tangible benefits to some people and to some organizations, but not to all people and to all organizations. And it is also quite possible that a particular innovation might be great for a large organization, but prove impractical for a small organization.

If you accept the idea that innovation has to provide some tangible benefit, it becomes apparent that global innovation does not necessarily translate into local innovation. Scale and location matter. They are variables that must be taken into account when considering the potential value of innovative projects.

My research into innovation has convinced me that successful innovation models are complex and multidimensional. They are neither simple nor linear. Like physics, innovation seems to work differently at different ends of the scale. As a result, small organizations and large organizations are likely ...

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