Managing Innovation

Knowledge@Wharton has a series of articles. From one of them:

To understand innovation, you first have to distinguish it from invention; too many people confuse them, according to Linda Sanford, an IBM senior vice president. Invention is just the starting point, one of the participants noted. A companys portfolio of patents reveals its smarts as an inventor. IBM, for example, remains formidable in this regard, racking up record numbers of patents for the last decade. But patents arent enough. Their technology has to find its way into products.

Not all innovations are created equal. Paul Schoemaker, a Wharton adjunct professor of marketing, pointed out that many people cite only of hits like the Blackberry or Starbucks coffee shops when talking about innovation. But some companies dont play that game, he said. They play a percentage game of incremental innovation, like Toyota. And some companies arent really innovators at all. They play a loss-avoidance game. Think about the airlines.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.