Monday, May 16, 2011

On outside-in vs. inside-out innovation

Today I participated in presenting to some young people from the Israeli Defense Forces, that are going around in research institutes in academia and industry to understand what is innovation, and what is research.   Recently, there has been an article in one of the Israeli newspapers that talked about inside-out vs.outside-in innovation, or where are great ideas coming from?    Many companies are trying to do outside-in innovation, doing market surveys to identify gaps and requirements in order to determine what next to do;  this article claimed that some of the bigger innovations (e.g. Facebook, iPhone and more) are inside-out, somebody comes with great idea out of the blue,  and it is sometimes being used for purposed that the inventor did not imagine.   The outside-in is used to refine, and shape the next generations.   I believe that this observation is true,  one cannot obtain great ideas from customers' requirements, as they typically don't think that they need it until it is there.   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Opher,

nice observation captured in your post. I'd rather come up with a different perspective than you did. Some customers tend to focus pretty much on their own development without looking to the market on what's going on. In that case the outside in innovation might help them getting on track and easing out their life quite a bit instead of reinventing the wheel all the time. This type of customer I've seen quite a few times and it was a hard task to help them getting the appropriate existing invention and extend it so that it fitted to their requirements.
On the other hand, I've seen also many customers working the other way around, just looking at the market and search for the appropriate product. That prevents also the progress of invention.
My conclusion on that topic is that there should be a good mixture: Overserve what is on the market and pick the solution that comes closest to your requirements. Add than your personal requirements by inventing a whole new thing.

By the way, customers sometimes have also a better view on the requirements than we do.

Many greets and kind regards,