Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

March 29 2012

14:00

The Difference Between 'Invention' and 'Innovation'

Two and a half years ago, I co-founded Stroome, a collaborative online video editing and publishing platform and 2010 Knight News Challenge winner.

From its inception, the site received a tremendous amount of attention. The New School, USC Annenberg, the Online News Association and, ultimately, the Knight Foundation all saw something interesting in what we were doing. We won awards; we were invited to present at conferences; we were written about in the trades and featured in over 150 blogs. Yet despite all the accolades, not once did the word "invention" creep in. "Innovation," it turns out, was the word on everyone's lips.

Like so many up-and-coming entrepreneurs, I was under the impression that invention and innovation were one and the same. They aren't. And, as I have discovered, the distinction is an important one.

Recently, I was asked by Jason Nazar, founder of Docstoc and a big supporter of the L.A. entrepreneurial community, if I would help define the difference between the two. A short, 3-minute video response can be found at the bottom of this post, but I thought I'd share some key takeaways with you here:

INVENTION VS. INNOVATION: THE DIFFERENCE

In its purest sense, "invention" can be defined as the creation of a product or introduction of a process for the first time. "Innovation," on the other hand, occurs if someone improves on or makes a significant contribution to an existing product, process or service.

Consider the microprocessor. Someone invented the microprocessor. But by itself, the microprocessor was nothing more than another piece on the circuit board. It's what was done with that piece -- the hundreds of thousands of products, processes and services that evolved from the invention of the microprocessor -- that required innovation.

STEVE JOBS: THE POSTER BOY OF INNOVATION

If ever there were a poster child for innovation it would be former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. And when people talk about innovation, Jobs' iPod is cited as an example of innovation at its best.

steve jobs iphone4.jpg

But let's take a step back for a minute. The iPod wasn't the first portable music device (Sony popularized the "music anywhere, anytime" concept 22 years earlier with the Walkman); the iPod wasn't the first device that put hundreds of songs in your pocket (dozens of manufacturers had MP3 devices on the market when the iPod was released in 2001); and Apple was actually late to the party when it came to providing an online music-sharing platform. (Napster, Grokster and Kazaa all preceded iTunes.)

So, given those sobering facts, is the iPod's distinction as a defining example of innovation warranted? Absolutely.

What made the iPod and the music ecosystem it engendered innovative wasn't that it was the first portable music device. It wasn't that it was the first MP3 player. And it wasn't that it was the first company to make thousands of songs immediately available to millions of users. What made Apple innovative was that it combined all of these elements -- design, ergonomics and ease of use -- in a single device, and then tied it directly into a platform that effortlessly kept that device updated with music.

Apple invented nothing. Its innovation was creating an easy-to-use ecosystem that unified music discovery, delivery and device. And, in the process, they revolutionized the music industry.

IBM: INNOVATION'S UGLY STEPCHILD

Admittedly, when it comes to corporate culture, Apple and IBM are worlds apart. But Apple and IBM aren't really as different as innovation's poster boy would have had us believe.

Truth is if it hadn't been for one of IBM's greatest innovations -- the personal computer -- there would have been no Apple. Jobs owes a lot to the introduction of the PC. And IBM was the company behind it.

Ironically, the IBM PC didn't contain any new inventions per se (see iPod example above). Under pressure to complete the project in less than 18 months, the team actually was under explicit instructions not to invent anything new. The goal of the first PC, code-named "Project Chess," was to take off-the-shelf components and bring them together in a way that was user friendly, inexpensive, and powerful.

And while the world's first PC was an innovative product in the aggregate, the device they created -- a portable device that put powerful computing in the hands of the people -- was no less impactful than Henry Ford's Model T, which reinvented the automobile industry by putting affordable transportation in the hands of the masses.

INNOVATION ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH

Given the choice to invent or innovate, most entrepreneurs would take the latter. Let's face it, innovation is just sexier. Perhaps there are a few engineers at M.I.T. who can name the members of "Project Chess." Virtually everyone on the planet knows who Steve Jobs is.

But innovation alone isn't enough. Too often, companies focus on a technology instead of the customer's problem. But in order to truly turn a great idea into a world-changing innovation, other factors must be taken into account.

According to Venkatakrishnan Balasubramanian, a research analyst with Infosys Labs, the key to ensuring that innovation is successful is aligning your idea with the strategic objectives and business models of your organization.

In a recent article that appeared in Innovation Management, he offered five considerations:

1. Competitive advantage: Your innovation should provide a unique competitive position for the enterprise in the marketplace;
2. Business alignment: The differentiating factors of your innovation should be conceptualized around the key strategic focus of the enterprise and its goals;
3. Customers: Knowing the customers who will benefit from your innovation is paramount;
4. Execution: Identifying resources, processes, risks, partners and suppliers and the ecosystem in the market for succeeding in the innovation is equally important;
5. Business value: Assessing the value (monetary, market size, etc.) of the innovation and how the idea will bring that value into the organization is a critical underlying factor in selecting which idea to pursue.

Said another way, smart innovators frame their ideas to stress the ways in which a new concept is compatible with the existing market landscape, and their company's place in that marketplace.

This adherence to the "status quo" may sound completely antithetical to the concept of innovation. But an idea that requires too much change in an organization, or too much disruption to the marketplace, may never see the light of day.

A FINAL THOUGHT

While they tend to be lumped together, "invention" and "innovation" are not the same thing. There are distinctions between them, and those distinctions are important.

So how do you know if you are inventing or innovating? Consider this analogy:

If invention is a pebble tossed in the pond, innovation is the rippling effect that pebble causes. Someone has to toss the pebble. That's the inventor. Someone has to recognize the ripple will eventually become a wave. That's the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs don't stop at the water's edge. They watch the ripples and spot the next big wave before it happens. And it's the act of anticipating and riding that "next big wave" that drives the innovative nature in every entrepreneur.

This article is the seventh of 10 video segments in which digital entrepreneur Tom Grasty talks about his experience building an Internet startup, and is part of a larger initiative sponsored by docstoc.videos, which features advice from small business owners who offer their views on how to launch a new business or grow your existing one altogether.

July 28 2011

12:54

What the h... is ROIII? - Insights into USA Today's social media strategy

Omniture and Adobe produced a (promotional) webcast about how to create social media fans on Facebook & Twitter. The webcast part I was interested in, was the one covering insights into USA Today's social media strategy, introducing ROIII, or Return on interaction, influence, and investment. Before USA Today even started to turn to social media they set up an interdisciplinary team from various departments, including marketing, IT and editorial staff. Marketing took the lead and trained Editorial colunnists, reporters, bloggers, etc. But listen yourself or download the transcript of the webcast directly from their site. The webcast can be downloaded to watch on an iPod, or as Quicktime movie or mp4.

[Jeff Wiegand, USA Today, webcast, 31:00:] We really want to be part of the conversation now ... (instead of only publishing updates, which is old school journalism

Continue to watch the presentation www.omniture.com

Download a transcript of the webcast via www.omniture.com/download (PDF)

August 20 2010

09:36

paidContent: Hearst Magazines launches ‘App Lab’ in New York

Hearst Magazines is launching an “App Lab” at its New York offices, which, according to paidContent, will act as an an incubator space for the company’s marketers and ad agency workers before being opened up to customers to promote Hearst’s iPhone, iPad and tablet products.

The publisher offers 22 apps so far and has all of its magazines available as digital replicas through the e-edition service Zinio says the report.

Full post on paidContent.org at this link…Similar Posts:



March 30 2010

17:44

Portability, Participation Rule for New Media Consumer

We're spoiled by technology. Today, we expect more from our media than we can get from print, radio or linear TV.

If you're like me -- and, increasingly, evidence shows people are -- you crave portability, fungibility, the ability to listen to a book or article, to watch a TV show or movie or YouTube clip whenever and wherever you want. You may even, like me, want to chop off pieces and show them elsewhere, tag them, mash them up.

Consuming media the way it used to be provided (and sometimes still is) can be so woefully inefficient. Who wants to have to sit down and consume at the provider's convenience, rather than their own? Who has time for appointment TV any more? Just look at the research that finds more and more of us using DVRs, avoiding commercials and otherwise changing viewing habits.

It's not necessarily that we object to a reasonable level of advertising or fees. We're increasingly using services like Hulu or Netflix that let us watch shows and movies on demand, even if we have to suffer ads, or pay for the privilege. It's worth the price in order to not be at the mercy of whatever happens to be available, either in real-time or on-demand through a cable. It's great to have the choice of what screen to use, too. And who doesn't enjoy being able to zoom back a minute or two and catch something they liked or missed?

During the Winter Olympics, I couldn't bother sitting through tape-delayed events that had happened hours ago or that I didn't care about. I not only recorded the shows off the air, using an Eye TV device mentioned in this MediaShift story on cutting the cord to cable, but also set the program to automatically convert the broadcasts to iTunes clips that took up less space on my hard drive and also made them easy to transfer to computers and other devices.

Shifting from Eyes to Ears and Back

If you're like me, you also enjoy reading and listening to books you're interested in. I may read a chapter or two, then listen to a chapter while doing the dishes. I get through the book faster and enjoy the continuity. When an audiobook doesn't exist -- which is surprisingly often -- I'll try to get the digital edition and have my computer's speech-synthesis application read it to me. Even with the distortions and glitches, it's good enough to give a good rendering of what's in print.

I'll do that for newspaper and magazine articles, blogs and research papers, too. It's a great way to not have to stop reading because I have something else to do that requires the use of my hands or eyes. If I'm going to be traveling, I might record the audio into an iPod so I can listen while standing in line or taking a taxi to the hotel. I'll certainly access books remotely via computer, Blackberry or iPod Touch.

By now, you may be thinking: What's this got to do with trends in media or the media business, at large? This guy is a huge geek, and he's unlike 90 percent of humanity.

But that really isn't the case. Yes, I am reasonably comfortable with technology, but I don't use it for its own sake. I use the technology because it is liberating, it let's me do things I've always wanted to. I know I'm not the only person who's engaged in time- and place-shifting by using a timer and tape recorder to grab favorite radio shows, for example. It's no secret why audio cassette decks used to be sold with two slots for tapes, only one of which had a "record" button. I still record things on a videotape when I want to bring them over to someone else's house to watch.

Our time is valuable, and the more we can control it the more value it has. So, too, does media become more valuable when we can better weave it into our relationships. If we can snag a piece of something and blog or tweet about it or email it to a friend, it makes it easier to have a meaningful conversation and be engaged.

Age of the Participatory Consumer

A recent study from IBM media research found that we're moving from "traditional devices" to "connected experiences," that media consumers from all generations, but especially the younger ones, are moving from passive to "involved" consumption of media, and from limited to open access. Consumers around the world, it finds, increasingly expect to control and participate in their media.

There's a lesson here amid debates about what media consumers will pay for, and which distribution channels and levels of access can be controlled. Device makers, too, need to figure out a balance between portability and access, as the iPod's masters showed they learned by finally offering DRM-free versions of songs. I also predict the Kindle will do the same as competitors with more open devices gain market share.

Anyone who produces media or the devices to consume them will have to provide enough value for us to put up with any restrictions. More importantly, they need to understand that technology has made us into new kinds of consumers.

Dorian Benkoil is consulting sales manager, and has devised marketing strategy for MediaShift. He is SVP at Teeming Media, a strategic media consultancy focused on helping digital media content identify and meet business objectives. He has devised strategies, business models and training programs for websites, social media, blog networks, events companies, startups, publications and TV shows. He Tweets at @dbenk.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

February 05 2010

14:45

Magazine publisher Imagine looks to iPads and iPhones with digital editions launch

Specialist magazine group Imagine Publishing – which produces titles including Retro Gamer, X360 and Advanced Photoshop magazine – has made its entire magazine portfolio available for Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users.

It’s no surprise given the publisher’s commitment to creating digital edions, its range of online-only titles and the digital focus of many magazines that it’s decided to launch paid-for apps across these platforms.

But interestingly these applications, developed by technology company PixelMags, while creating digital editions of the titles rather than an iPhone or iPad-specific version, will feature embedded video clips.

What’s more, digital magazine subscriptions created by PixelMag are certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulations electronic, so the apps will potentially count towards Imagine’s circulation figures.

Similar Posts:



January 07 2010

15:53

GOOD NEWS FOR MEDIA COMPANIES: THE APPLE TABLET NEEDS CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT

beta_vhs_480

Do you remember the story of JVC’s VHS versus Sony’s BETAMAX?

Yes, Sony’s format was better with more reproduction quality, but…

JVC’s  had more movies available and at the end of the day, content prevailed over technology.

Well, now you can understand why Brian Marshall says that “for Apple, content is the focus of the tablet.”

Look at the Google Phone, the Super Phone, the “iPhone Killer”…

The Nexus One could be better as a product (it’s not) but the iPhone has these 100.000 applications, so the game is over.

The same is going to happen with the new upcoming tablets.

The key for the success of the Apple one  will be not the hardware but the software.

And just channeling these 100.000 applications to the new tablet will be enough to win the war.

The Apple tablet will have, I am sure, brilliant hardware.

Superb design.

Great usability.

Magnificent navigation tools…

But, again, it’s the software, stupid!

It’s the wine, not the bottle.

Or as the British used to say when the first computers were presented as “the” solution to have better education in the scholols:

“Garbage IN, Garbage Out”

So, good news for media companies and other content-driven providers.

The Apple tablet loves your content.

Apple wants your content.

Apple needs your content.

Music content made the difference for the iTunes and iPod.

So Multimedia content will make the difference for the Apple iTablet.

Are you ready?

Well, if your newspaper still dosen’t have an iPhone application, I don’t believe you.

You are NOT ready.

And shame to you and to your IT people!

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl