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Tuesday, 3 June 2008

On 10:24 by Rizwan Tayabali in    No comments

In light of general pessimism about the state of innovation in the UK, NESTA have published a research report called 'Total Innovation'. 100 pages of mostly impenetrable writing with sentences the size of paragraphs. The key bit of the report however is the focus on 'hidden innovation' and NESTA defines 4 types which are worth sharing.

In our current world innovation has, as NESTA put it, become "synonymous with scientific and technological invention born of new research-driven knowledge." However innovation can be social, behavioural, organisational etc. Recognising this should help raise awareness that just because you aren't involved in tech research doesn't mean that you aren't innovating.

Unhelpfully these other types of innovation have been titled Type I, Type II, Type III and Type IV, so I'm going to use a bit of creative license and title them by their descriptions

  1. Type I: Practical Research - eg. Engineering solutions developed through 'on-the-job' learning rather than through lab research.
  2. Type II: New Organisational and Business Models - eg. Semi-autonomous business units in the pharmaceutical industry reflecting the entrepreneurial nature of small bio-tech firms.
  3. Type III: Novel combination of existing technologies and processes - eg. Using existing functions and routines to deliver new services
  4. Type IV: Micro-Innovations - eg. Small scale manufacturing problems and challenges dealt with outside R&D programmes

I found this interesting because it helped me understand that by doing something new with existing technologies, we can be recognised as innovating too. iVoluntr.org will fall into the Type III category. I'll explain why in a follow-on post.

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