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The Long Nose of Innovation  

2011-12-28 13:45:30|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Insight January 2, 2008, 11:27AM EST

The Long Nose of Innovation

(page 2 of 2)

The Long Nose of Innovation. Bill Buxton

Here's the message to be heeded: Innovation is not about alchemy. In fact, innovation is not about invention. An idea may well start with an invention, but the bulk of the work and creativity is in that idea's augmentation and refinement. The newer the idea, the coarser the granularity of most analysis, and the more likely people are to say, "oh, that's just like X" or "that's been done before," without any appreciation for how much work and innovation is involved in taking an idea from concept to wide practice.

Rewarding the Art of Refinement

The heart of the innovation process has to do with prospecting, mining, refining, and goldsmithing. Knowing how and where to look and recognizing gold when you find it is just the start. The path from staking a claim to piling up gold bars is a long and arduous one. It is one few are equipped to follow, especially if they actually believe they have struck it rich when the claim is staked. Yet the true value is not realized until after the skilled goldsmith has crafted those bars into something worth much more than its weight in gold. In the meantime, our collective glorification of and fascination with so-called invention—coupled with a lack of focus on the processes of prospecting, mining, refining, and adding value to ideas—says to me that the message is simply not having an effect on how we approach things in our academies, governments, or businesses.

Too often, universities try to contain the results of research in the hope of commercially exploiting the resulting intellectual property. Politicians believe that setting up tech-transfer incubators around universities will bring significant economic gains in the short or mid-term. It could happen. So could winning the lottery. I just wouldn't count on it. Instead, perhaps we might focus on developing a more balanced approach to innovation—one where at least as much investment and prestige is accorded to those who focus on the process of refinement and augmentation as to those who came up with the initial creation.

To my mind, at least, those who can shorten the nose by 10% to 20% make at least as great a contribution as those who had the initial idea. And if nothing else, long noses are great for sniffing out those great ideas sitting there neglected, just waiting to be exploited.

Bill Buxton is Principal Scientist at Microsoft Research and the author of Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. Previously, he was a researcher at Xerox PARC, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Chief Scientist of Alias Research and SGI Inc.

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引文来源  The Long Nose of Innovation
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