Technology Innovation Insights ™

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Weekly Tip

Why Innovative Beats Inventiveness in Creating Value

Would you be surprised to learn that the iPod was NOT the first Portable Media Player?

In fact – it was actually the 11th!  British inventor Kane Kramer is known as the inventor of the portable media player.  His first player, called the IXI, could play an hour of music.  The second portable media player was invented by AT&T and actually included access to the early internet.  But none of the media players introduced had the impact of the Apple iPod, which is commonly known as the first successful media player.

What was it about the Apple iPod that caused its great success?  According to Jim Vaselopulos, in his talk called, “Driving Innovation by Balancing Risk & Opportunity,” the real innovation was the total value proposition.  The difference was the incredible, easy to use, ecosystem that Apple created.  It wasn’t just the iPod, it was the whole experience.  Prior to the iPod, putting music on the early portable media players was difficult at best.  With the iPod you put your CD in your Apple computer and copied it to iTunes, plugged in your iPod and iTunes did all the work!

Jim Vaselopulos, a Senior VP at PSC group, presented his talk at our 4th annual Technology Innovation and Leadership summit.

CIOs and IT Executives, according to Jim, spend too much time trying to minimize risk, and as a result, miss out on the potential for a more innovative organization.  In Jim’s talk, he explained a number of core concepts of innovation, as well as a five point framework for creating a more innovative organization.

One of the key concepts is the difference between innovation and invention. There is a big difference between invention and innovation.  Innovation is when you build something that customers are willing to pay for.  Invention is simply creating new things.  You pay for innovative assets.  Think of innovation that way.  It’s not just creativity.  It’s when people are willing to pay for that it’s innovative.  You have to create the whole value proposition, like Apple did.  Most inventions are never adopted.

What does this have to do with CIOs?  Innovative products are coming from advancements in technology.  As an example, we’ve made huge investments in the internet that is enabling new innovations.  But most CIOs are bad at taking risk. You can’t manage risk to zero.  I’ll share more on this in our next post, but I want you to get this key concept:

Don’t just focus on creativity and inventiveness.  The focus needs to be on creating the total value proposition – the entire experience that is so compelling that customers are willing to pay for it.  That’s how you create assets that have value.

What about your team’s focus?  Are you teaching them to be merely inventive, or innovative?

Want to see Jim’s presentation?  Readers of this blog can watch Jim’s presentation here.

Premium members may see the presentation at any time here.

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