What is an “Innovation Engine”?

Hi there – I’m making this is post to define a term we will be using quite a bit in our future posts & articles.

The term is:

Innovation Engine

Let us define this term now…

Definition: Innovation Engine

In a couple of previous posts – I outlined why we should approach innovation as a process, and how to start building your innovation process.

As discussed in the second post linked above, a good innovation management process takes raw materials (ideas) and converts them to desired output (innovative products & services). Here’s a diagram that depicts this:

We will refer to the blue block in this diagram as “Innovation Engine”. It consists of a set of processes and tools.

Here then is our definition:

An innovation engine consists of a set of processes & tools to capture ideas and convert them into successful innovation.

Innovation Engine – An Analogy

Let us look at an analogy to get a better feel for the concept of an innovation engine.

As you know, a Wind Turbine is an engine that converts wind into energy. Wind is everywhere, but without a well-built wind turbine – energy that is latent in the wind is not harnessed, and does not benefit us.

Similarly, good ideas are everywhere in your organization – among your employees, customers, et al. But without a well-built innovation engine – these ideas are not harnessed, and do not benefit your organization.

On the other hand, a well-built innovation engine harnesses ideas throughout your organization – and converts them into innovation, i.e. successful products and services.

In future posts, I will share practical tips & ideas to help you build a successful innovation engine at your organization. Until then…

FYI: A good idea management software is a necessary part to build your innovation engine. Many successful companies use IdeaGlow idea management software to do this. To find out whether IdeaGlow can help your team too, check out the product tour.

Michael Shrivathsan

I'm your author, Michael Shrivathsan. I've worked at several innovative companies in Silicon Valley, USA over the past two decades - and helped innovate 5 market-leading products. I'm also a USPTO patent recipient. For my day job, I'm the VP of Product Management at Accompa - we make IdeaGlow, a cloud based idea management software.

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