This book is about people. It is about the innovators who envision and create new products and services for the new global economy. it is also about the people who demand innovation at home, work, and play; in other words, it is about you. Throughout this book are many case studies about people and companies that innovate solutions for the consumer and the business-to-business world. These people and case studies are real, many taken from our consulting, research, and educational initiatives—people like Kapur and Jones and Harmon. But also throughout this book, especially at the beginning of many chapters, are stories about users of these products. Because innovation is about understanding the needs, wants, and desires of those people who affect the success of the product in the marketplace, scenarios of these people are a critical tool in the practice of innovative product development. These scenarios are developed by product developers to provide product-use context. Although they are projections of real people, these stories of end users are not real.
This book is also about the process of innovation. It is not about managing new products after the fact, where a new product created elsewhere in the company now requires strategic marketing. It is not about the traditional business topics that fall under the label of innovation management. It is about the business of innovating—the business of finding opportunities in the marketplace and of developing products to achieve those opportunities. The tools, methods, and insights discussed result from our consulting and research projects. These are the tools of the new breed of innovator.
The result is a step-by-step guide to help you through the innovation process. It is not, however, a set of mindless instructions, a checklist that will do the work for you. Innovation requires thought. You, the reader of this book, can excel at it if you take the time to think about the context of the world around you. If you are looking for a way to reshape the way you lead, direct, manage, think, and practice, this book helps you learn how to fish in the seas of opportunity that exist in the interconnected new global economy. If you are someone who just wants to view the excitement of innovation up close, to understand what it takes to create a great product and deliver it to your door, this book gives you front-row insight into great companies, processes, people, and ideas in product and service development today.