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Innovation Management - Some Idea Are Better Than Others

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

One of the useful methods of valuing ideas is to compare the type of idea with those types of ideas that have previously been most successful.
Franklin (2003) notes that some kinds of ideas are more successful than others. He notes six types:

a) Need spotting 'involves actively finding an answer to a problem.

b) Solution spotting 'involves finding a problem for a solution.

c) Market Research 'ideas generated as a result of market research.

d) Random event 'moments of serendipity when people stumble across answers they weren't looking for.

e) Mental invention 'pure random ideas with no previous knowledge of how they may be implemented.

f) Trend following.

Of these, the random event was the most successful (92.9%) with least failures (7.1%). However, this type of idea requires previous knowledge or experience on some level 'for example, an individual who has worked in an environment previously may utilise that tacit knowledge to solve a problem that becomes evident later.

Very close to the above is solution spotting with an 87.5% success and a 12.5% failure rate. Again, this idea type requires previous knowledge: the innovator consciously seeks a problem to apply that knowledge to.
These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.

Kal Bishop, MBA

About the Author: Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on


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