Innovations need to be driven by someone who is deeply committed to the idea. That person is almost always at first a volunteer working alone. At some stage a small group of volunteers is formed, and resources donated, borrowed or stolen to get the project started. The Champion is by now clearly identified, but the project may still be under the radar. The champion's task is to develop the resources available to the group in terms of manpower and skills, ideas, working space and equipment, financial resources and even to identify future customers.
There is a lot of misleading propaganda about the creative pathway that makes innovation possible. New ideas only slowly and progressively reveal themselves. But the myth is that some great individual imagined fully developed in every detail, the concept that was finally created. Foolish notions such as that inhibit real innovation, which is always a lot of small progressive steps into the unknown.
All projects have hiding hands, or unknown unknowns, that can wreck havoc with the best made plans. Pioneering is fraught by difficulty because of the lack of maps or guidelines about what to do next. Everyone would prefer to work within a professional discipline and apply the rules of a well established paradigm. But sometimes making progress calls one to take a risk in doing something that might not be approved. One hope that this might mean 40 days in the wilderness. Sadly some people find it difficult to return.
The whole topic of innovation is seeped in stories of brilliant men, lone hero's whom we are supposed to imitate. This propaganda creates many innovation myths that make real innovation more difficult. One key example is the insistence of most experts that a patent is the secret to commercial success. We believe that evidence to the contrary is very strong.
Given the importance of innovation you'd expect that there would he hundreds of Internet sites filled with good advice. Sadly there are few sites. Most of those sites reinforce the propaganda rather than offer practical help. Here is our current list of innovation links and a suggestion or two about useful books.