6Social Innovation

“Social networking is becoming social innovation. A new mode of invention and production is in the making.”—

Don Tapscott, coauthor Wikinomics

Innovation—the introduction of a new and useful method, process, product, or service—is the lifeblood of business and, indeed, of civilization. Innovation comes in many forms. This chapter focuses on product innovation, though the ideas presented here can be applied to other kinds of innovation.

There are, roughly speaking, four stages of innovation: generating concepts, prototyping, commercial implementation, followed by continual iteration (see Figure 6.1). Although these are by no means clear-cut or necessarily sequential, most innovations in history have more or less followed this ...

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