How Do We Innovate?

Recently I had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Bill O’Connor, the founder of the Innovation Genome project at Autodesk. A number of you may already be familiar with this work that Autodesk has undertaken, but for those who are not, the quick synopsis is that Autodesk has been sponsoring Bill (and his team) to determine over the course of human history what should truly be considered “innovation” or “innovative” and what leads to successful innovation in the first place. They’ve also come up with a definition of ‘Innovation’ that I think is pretty decent:

“Innovation is the art of establishing something different or new, out in the real world that has a significant impact.” – Bill O’Connor (Autodesk)

If you stop to ponder this definition for a moment, you start to realize that it is a relatively high bar to achieve. Not that it is an impossible bar, but it demands a level of rigor that arguably most of us don’t apply most of the time and gives one…

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