There are many companies specialized in innovation. In fact, in 2001, I created a company called Equilybria based on the very idea of product innovation. My purpose then was to propose innovations that would change the way people think about sports and services. It was all about working with innovation as though it was a commodity. Needless to say, that business did not work.
There is something special about innovation. Something different. Something unpredictable. And in our industrial world where we want to control, handle, measure everything, this doesn't fit in well.
What does fit in will in our commoditized world is change. Change is a form of innovation... but without the genius. And change is really the only thing that most companies in innovation really offer. Unfortunately, this is true for all companies where "innovation" has been implemented as a must.
But what I have come today to consider as innovation is somewhat different. It is more inspired, more divine... It comes from elsewhere.
Like many artists,Tom Waits considers that his creative genius is outside of himself. I really love the story told by best selling author of "Eat, Prey, Love" Elisabeth Gilbert concerning Tom Waits. She recalls a interview she had with Tom Waits where they were talking about the creative process. Tom Waits said that one day he was driving in his car when an incredible wave of inspiration hit him for a song. He was terribly upset because this song seemed so perfect and excellent that he just had to have it. But he realized that the inspiration was slipping away. At that point he stopped by the side of the road, put his eyes up, as if staring at the Divine, though there was nothing but the roof of his car. He started saying "Hey, can't you see I'm driving! I can't go and write that song right now. If you want me to be your artist, come back when I can actually write you down. Either that, or go check on someone else. Go see Leonard Cohen or someone!"
Like Tom Waits knows that inspiration comes from outside of us. And he is not the only one.
If this is true, and it is, then there is no way of institutionalizing creation. There is no way of controlling innovation. Rather the organization of any company wishing to innovate should reflect this truth and allow innovation to be caught when the wave comes rolling in. When we dont plan for it, innovation WILL come. That is 100% Certain. We just have to plan to receive it. That in itself is innovative!