On many blogs and websites there is evidence of people asking for examples of best practice in innovation and many (often poor) responses. The question is are those seeking an answer asking for the impossible and are those providing answers actually talking gibberish?
I have no doubt that the pleas for help are genuine but do those behind them know what they are asking for (and even why)? Those seeking knowledge about innovation often do so for four main reasons:
Each of these reasons stems from a belief that there is one true way, which is not the case. There are many examples of “best practice” being borrowed or transferred and working less effectively, or even not all, in its new environment. Environment and context are key here.
Consider the simple example of constructing a model aircraft from a kit made of plastic components, paint and glue. Such a kit made in Europe might be assembled with no problem in Europe or the U.S., but for reasons of heat or humidity there might be issues in India, that is unless someone with knowledge of the components of the kit and local environmental issues assists.
So when a kindly soul provides you with a copy of the One Minute Innovator or Innovation for Dummies and states “it worked for me,” you need to make sure you pay attention to the following:
Remember: “best practice” transferred and applied without contextual knowledge is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.