The challenge of innovation

The anxiety produced by standing against a blank page is only comparable with the enormous joy of contemplating the light of an innovative idea. But what is innovation in reality? How and why does it happen?

Clearly, a truly innovative design needs no explanation, it speaks for itself, nevertheless, what does in fact require a certain analysis are the conditions or prerequisites for innovation to take place effectively.

First and foremost, it is important to mention that nobody innovaties just for the sake of it, spontaneously; for innovation to happen first there must be a problem that seeks to be resolved. While inspiration sometimes does manifest itself in a quasi magic fashion (the famous ” eureka moment”), this phenomenon is caused by the pre-incubation of a key question that matures in the mind, is shaped into an idea and ultimately bursts out.

Despite the course of action needed for a process to reach a successful conclusion, we need to bear in mind that to innovate is to take a bold step forward, to make known the unknown. It is an action more akin to the act of revealing than that of creating because it involves the discovery of something that was already there, but of whose existence we were not aware yet.

However, creation and innovation are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary, they go hand in hand and operate synergistically. One just can not succeed in any innovation process without putting creativity at play, because the challenges related to innovation require the implementation of tools that do not yet exist in a strict sense. In the words of Richard Buckminster Fuller: “Do not try to change a system, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete”.

As a sort of dynamic and constantly evolving answer to the question at hand, we could say that to solve a problem in an innovative way means to “contra-dict” (gainsay) the world around us, challenge the statu quo and create new tools that allow us to reconfigure reality. It is, in effect, to make a qualitative leap that marks a before and an after, leaving the old paradigm behind.

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