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Innovation Management: The Time Factor

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

However, no matter how good an idea, how good the selection process or how perfect the development and commercialisation of the product, sometimes all that is needed is time for the product to come into its own.

A good example is the electric car. In the early 20th century the electric car scored highly on measurements such technical superiority and environmental friendliness and in New York fleets of electric taxis carried passengers across the city. At the time the internal combustion engine was cranky and unreliable yet it eventually usurped it's rival (Franklin, 2003). The prospect of diminishing and high oil prices and environmental concerns are resulting in the return of the electric car.

The time factor is one of the elements of the S-curve - a model for determining the impediments that a product may face on its route to commercial success.

These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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