Chapter 1

Mastering Digital Innovation


The former CEO of IBM Corporation once said, “If you can't write your ideas on the back of a business card, you don't have an idea.”

How can you begin if you don't know what you're doing? The same holds true for innovation. In order to really understand the effect of the digital universe on innovation, you must first define innovation.

This seems like a simple enough concept, doesn't it? And yet, there are no two definitions alike. And most of them resemble dissertations—tough to fit on the back of a business card.

Needless to say, defining innovation has been a colossal challenge over the years, a disturbing reality to say the least. If you asked an ophthalmologist the definition of ophthalmology, he or she would quickly tell you it's the diagnosis and treatment of human eye disease—simple, clear, and short. No matter where you traveled around the world, you would get the same definition.

Like the ophthalmologist or an expert in any other field, innovators must first understand their job in order to reach excellence.

I have spent the past 25 years as a Certified Management Consultant in the area of innovation strategy. Over that time I've found great success as an inventor with more than 30 U.S. patents.

I also know the definition of innovation and here it is again—it's oh, so simple:

Innovation is the process of creating exceptional customer value through active listening. ...

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