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Factors in High-Impact Innovation - Term Paper Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Factors in High-Impact Innovation This paper will explore Jewke’s research findings (Jewkes) on high-impact innovation, with reference to the importance of individual vs team approaches, and individuals or small enterprise vs large structured enterprise approaches to stimulating high-impact innovation…
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Factors in High-Impact Innovation
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Download file to see previous pages Jewkes contextualized his research by noting the underlying mythology about high-impact innovation, which is basically that it requires a lot of manpower, a lot of resources, a lot of money and fancy equipment, and complex bureaucratic support (Jewkes). While not proving the inverse of this notion, his findings indicated more variability than popular assumptions support. In examining an impressive range of high-impact innovations, more than half were done by individuals, working independently and with few resources, either in isolation or within an organization in which they had freedom to experiment and analyze on their own initiative without having to cooperate in a team (Jewkes). Inventing can be a group process, of course, but the kind of individuals who contributed some of the most important discoveries and basic products of the 19th and 20th centuries were not even assigned to a project to do so and, in various intriguing cases, were not even formally qualified in the area they explored, discovered or invented within. Sometimes it was an accident and other times individuals were pursuing interests rather than careers. (Jewkes) Furthermore, it seems that many such individuals are not people who negotiate a career field and social skills that would endear them to a team or get them appointed to a formal position in the area to which they greatly contributed. They are often people who question every assumption, however consensual (Jewkes). They are eccentric and want to be left alone to explore their own curiosity. Many such individuals can be characterized as loners. The work of inventing has private elements to it. Thinking and creative “messing around” with ideas and materials needs a climate of unconstrained thinking, uninterrupte3d reflection and working autonomy. It can call forth heroic effort. The group dynamics of a team can constrain thinking and redirect creative ideas, or even humiliate them. Cooperation may overly-structure the process and conflict may weaken it. Jewkes notes that the human mind, working alone, can organize and synthesize ideas far more efficiently than a team. There is a loss of creative power when the individual has to adjust to team members. Perhaps these are clues to why so many initial innovations came from lone individuals (Jewkes). Jewkes distinguishes between initial pioneering discoveries and inventions and the development of those discoveries and inventions (Jewkes). Development will generally benefit from the resources and monetary investment, as well as additional input and expertise that can be found in a university setting or in a larger organization. While inspiration and exploration is often initially a private matter, development and exploitation is often a more cooperative and planned one. Some stunning chemical innovations were accomplished by General Motors (Freon refrigerant and tetraethyl lead), but their pattern was more typical of the lone hero, since they are not a chemical company, but a motor engineering company, and since their innovation involved an element of chance (Jewkes). Large companies have contributed significant innovations out of strong research programs, maybe because research itself has a private, lone hero aspect which can be done with a certain amount of autonomy by an individual or a small team, and merely funded and later expanded by the larger organizati ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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