Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Creativity at work -- 2008

The January 2, 2008 issue of "U.S.1" has a cover article "Survival Guide 2008. Creativity at Work" with the sub-headline:

How Sarnoff, Xerox, and other smart organizations encourage and channel the innovative and creative impulses of their brightest people, making the artful also profitable

IPBiz notes that Xerox PARC basically stood for the proposition of innovative people making discoveries that became profitable for people OTHER THAN Xerox.

Within the article, Curt Carlson speaks of innovation:

Innovation is not just the invention of some clever new gadget. It is the successful creation and delivery of a new or improved product or service in the marketplace. It is the process that turns an idea into value for the customer and results in sustainable profit for the enterprise.

Innovations can be incremental (a child's new toy) or transformational (the development of instant photography). In all cases innovations deliver new customer value in the marketplace.

What we often find, though, is confusion about what innovation is and how it is accomplished. Instead of focusing on creating new customer value, we often find leadership in organizations trying to encourage "creativity" with the hope of achieving greater success. They sometimes even have large teams working to improve creativity through enterprise. But the real question is, "Creativity for what?" Focusing on just creativity can lead to misplaced rsources and frustration.

Carlson gets into a questionable version of the Philo Farnsworth story:

Many creative people have invented revolutionary new products but have been unsuccessful at getting them into the enterprise. To take an often-used example from Sarnoff, Philo Farnsworth invented television in 1927, but it was David Sarnoff who created television broadcasting to bring black-and-white television to the consumer in 1939. He developed a successful business model that put together televisions, cameras, broadcasting stations, program content, and advertising. Farnsworth invented a device, while Sarnoff was the innovator who put all the pieces together to create an industry.

At page 16 of the US 1, one finds mention of Xerox. There's talk of Sophie VandeBroek, but no mention of the famous lost opportunities of Xerox PARC.

One IPBiz reader wrote: thanks for the column and particularly on Farnsworth. It's great to know that it was Sarnoff's theft of Farnsworth's Invention that
gave the world Television. Wouldn't it have been FASTER and Better if he
hadn't been a conniving thief?

Happy New Year. Just came back from CES in Las Vegas.
Great fun but no Farnsworth's -- just Sarnoffs.


OF U.S.1 (Richard K. Rein, publisher), see also:

Political experts get political facts wrong?


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