We Don’t Need More Mousetraps!

Tim Kastelle, The Discipline of Innovation, Mar 07, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In the spirit of Who Moved My Cheese, Tim Kastelle makes the case that innovation should not be measured in terms of new discoveries, patents and publications, and instead focuses on "something that solves actual problems for real people." This, he argues, is a circular process. "We talk to people a bit to understand what problems they’re struggling with, then build something that might help with that to see if it works. And we do this repeatedly." Fair enough, but my experience is that when you ask people what they want, they ask for a better mousetrap, and they won't buy it from you until you have patents and publications to prove it works. Real innovation goes beyond what people say they want, and addresses challenges they never imagined could be solved.

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