Archive for November, 2008

Defining innovation

Everybody talks about innovation these days, but do various people mean/see the same thing?

While a general definition might be easier to agree upon, when it comes to specifics, various producers and users of innovation could have quite different views. Thus while working together or when seeking to satisfy someone else’s need for innovation, it might be smart to begin by asking the simple, yet essential question: what qualifies a specific product or process as innovative for you?

Let’s take medical advances, an area that can have such a tremendous impact on our lives. Life sciences and medical practice make advances every day, but would a scientist, a medical product developer, and a patient use the same criteria when assessing something as a medical innovation? My own experience of being any and all of the above indicates “no”. For instance, a new way of approaching a medical problem means innovation to a scientist, producing the new version of the currently available treatment is considered innovative by a pharmaceutical developer, but the patient will likely expect a type of treatment not previously available or at least one with some termendous advantages in terms of risk/benefits ratio or possibly ease of use. What does life science/medical innovation mean to you?

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The name chosen for this blog is based on a natural phenomenon that occurs when two waves collide to create a new wave pattern and areas of increased amplitude (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructive_interference)

Even if not everyone remembers learning about it, many of us likely noticed this many times while on, in, or around water. If this does not sound familiar, watch it happen on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D74tN-k5nM)

When trying to come up with a term to expresses the positive effect of bringing together diversity of thought, background, educational and life experiences to create something new and positive, I made my own poll on the “message” of using constructive interference. Some of my friends got caught up in the negative connotation of “interference”, yet, those who could still remember learning about interference, understood the message and actually liked it. The physicists and the engineers were 100% sold on it! Our society is “conflict” adverse, and seeks to foresee and prevent it at all cost, however it is well known that positive conflict results in the most creative solutions.

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Welcoming interference of opinions of the constructive kind!

Please DO interfere!

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