Innovation creates enormous value.
Indeed a high proportion of what surrounds us started as an innovation – whether it’s a technology like electric lights or Ipads, or a service like hospitals and schools.
Innovation is growth
Economists reckon that at least 80% of all economic growth comes from the creation and adoption of new ideas. And in public services and civil society the great majority of progress comes from innovation too.
But innovation is rarely simple or predictable. It involves false starts and failures; setbacks as well as triumphs.
Innovation is a skill that can be learnt
Sometimes it’s written about as an almost magical process. But it’s wrong to see innovation as a mystery. Some people and organisations have learned how to manage innovation well, and to increase their ability to generate ideas and then to turn them into value, whether economic or social.
From a distance great innovations look like radical leaps. From close up they nearly always turn out to have been made up of much more incremental steps. Although innovation does involve moments of sudden insight and creative breakthroughs, much of it is about getting lots of smaller things right.
Learn with our free resources
That’s why our aim is to demystify innovation and to share some of the practical skills needed to make innovation happen so as to help innovators, entrepreneurs, funders and policy makers to raise their hit rate. We try to show how to use money, knowledge, and power; how to use the specific tools that have been developed by fields like design, or evaluation; how to nurture ideas and also how to take them to scale.
We show the different approaches which you can take to money at each stage, and also how risk can be handled, and what sorts of evidence might be needed at each stage.
In all of this we try to show the importance of getting the right balance between creative, expansive phases, when ideas multiply, and phases of hard graft when ideas are crystallised, simplified and honed down.