What is Innovation?

You know that feeling when you have opened a can of worms? I just did that.

I sent out email to Friends of InnoFuture today to share the exciting news about InnoFuture DOJO and did three things that didn’t go down well: included images of Obama, Jobs and mentioned Waterloo. The famous battle is now synonymous with a great victory or great defeat, depending on whether you are French or British is.

This battle put an end to one little man’s (Napoleon Bonaparte) megalomania and ended the French Revolution, a dark period of the dictatorship-by-democracy, run by a clique of power hungry men (things never change), riding on the backs of dumb masses, and on the intellectual steam of clever and dogmatic intellectuals. And finally, Waterloo proved, once again, that British are a bunch of tough bastards when it comes to warfare and sorting out upstarts.

But problem was more current. I quote  it here (anymously) because it is about ‘what is innovation really about’.

“More amusing is that your video starts with a picture of Barry Soetoro aka Barrack Hussein Obama, personally responsible for the destruction of innovation and technology along with (self-confessed) innovation thief and suppressor Steve Jobs.  There is nothing innovative about Obama and as an Apple owner – there is NOTHING innovative in Apple products that was not stolen.  The only innovation in Apple products is their ability to con customers with claims of superior quality which is a gross exaggeration, an exaggeration only matched by the gross statement of MACOS being a more secure platform – when in fact the opposite is true.

Though you are right in one thing – there is NO off-the-shelf innovation model that can just be plugged in to an existing culture…..and yes – my mind is still boggling as to how you can picture Obama as an innovator or even an as innovative leader. “

It was harsh but fair feedback and the author is a good Friend of InnoFuture, but i felt compelled to explain my point.

Why Obama?
Here is a ‘leader’ saying ‘we must innovate’ to get out of the old ways of thinking and to survive (have you seen a doco called “Requiem for Detroit”?) – but he doesn’t know or have the means to change the culture of his ‘organisation’. Too many diverging interests pulling different direction. Too little leadership vision. Too little inspiration. No system to train and coach desired behavious to adap to new challenges.

Plus, I confess, I had to go for big guns to make a point. After all there is nothing more important than the culture of innovation for a business is to prosper long-term and that’s what Innofuture is all about.

Why Apple?
Yes, I’ve heard these claims. I have just read a book about Jobs and it’s not a pretty picture. However, he does epitomise innovation: using existing elements in new and better contexts to solve customers’ known and unrealised problems (even if he had to tell the world that we need elegant, overpriced gadgets). Look at Blackberry – a marvel of engineering quality, was light-years ahead of time – and now dying because the original in-house thinking couldn’t keep up with the rest of the world’s race for gadgets. As I am personally sucked into the ‘touch’ Galaxy (I refused to get an iPhone), I bemoan the simplicity and reliability and… lack of vision of the better product. (BTW. I don’t know how long their market supremacy will last now without the Jobs’ leadership.)

Do you like pasta? Culturally, such an Italian fare. Or is it? This is the greatest theft in history: stolen by Marco Polo, a Venetian (possibly from Croatia) trader and traveller, from the Chinese. Stolen but not quite the same. Right?

I invite you to have your say. Here or on InnoFuture Facebook page.

Margaret Manson | Chief Inspirator | InnoFuture