Innovation Building Blocks

About two years ago a core group of the newly founded International Association of Innovation Professionals (IAOIP) met to take the first effort at the daunting task of describing what subjects and knowledge constitutes the “science of innovation”. They took a graphic approach in an effort to see the subject as a whole, to better understand how individual, sometimes seemingly separate bodies of knowledge may contribute to the larger innovation discipline. The result is the diagram you can find on the IAOIP website describing the building blocks of the science of innovation..

The mind map shows 11 major building blocks. From each there are many branches showing more detail. This living document is under constant review by the IAOIP membership as we all learn more about what the “a formal approach to innovation” can mean to the practitioner. The four familiar categories generally considered to be core to innovation, i.e. ideation, creativity, development and delivery are well represented.

Why is this effort important? All too often when a subject becomes as overexposed as innovation has become, many try to bring attention to their preferred approach, method, business model, etc. often to the exclusion of all else. Innovation is just too important to all of us to let that happen. This effort to identify the building blocks of the science of innovation, along with the fundamental belief that there is a science to identify, will help to bring the benefits of of innovation, in all its many forms, to the greatest number of practitioners.

A major contribution to building the science of innovation was the publication of the Global Innovation Science Handbook, (Currently in the 3rd Ed.) This award winning book written by over 40 global practitioners of various aspects of the science of innovation brings together in one place, for the first time, a work that can be widely used, reviewed, added to and evolved over time. This publication will do for the science of innovation what Juran’s Quality Handbook did for the practice of quality control. In both cases the publication of a handbook presented the subject in all its variety and complexity thus making the subject easier to grasp and develop.

These building blocks form the basis for the IAOIP certification program. As there is no “one-way” to do innovation there cannot be only one way to recognize a professional innovator. Human nature will always direct most of us to be better in one building block than another. Even those who seem to do well across the spectrum rarely can match the best people in any specific area. As demands for different types of innovation drive companies to seek new answers to their challenges they will need to mix and match the professional innovation skills to achieve their goal. Additionally, the building blocks of innovation will need to continue to evolve as we learn about innovation.

The IAOIP will offer our base innovation practitioner exam at the RELEVENTS Innovate @ TBD Fest in Sacramento. Watch for an announcement on how to register for this exam and become involved in building the body of knowledge in innovation.

How do you define innovation? Take the survey.

originally posted on: RELEVENTS

image credit: Eran Sandler

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Dr. Brett Trusko, is the president and chief executive officer of the International Association of Innovation Professionals. He is also an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. Dr. Trusko has been a thought leader in healthcare, technology, and innovation for the past 15 years. He is also a world-renowned futurist who speaks and writes about trends in most major industries. He has served in positions of leadership advising several governments and large corporations.

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Brett Trusko




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