If we want to accelerate the diffusion of innovation – where do we start and end measurement?

One of our biggest challenges towards helping to innovate in a “heart-beat” is understanding when we start measuring and when we end our measurements. Indeed the existing models (i.e. diffusion of innovation curve and Gartner Hype cycles) “seem” to begin with a specific idea and then try to track that although this runs into difficulties as ideas change, cluster, are re-engineered or indeed move into phases that are notoriously difficult to observe (i.e. late adopters and laggards).
The image comes from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx7_yzypm5w where you can watch an amazing 24 hour time lapse of global air traffic – planes can be tracked – can we track innovations?
One the thoughts that might help us is understanding that there is a significant phase before these concepts during which ideas are created in the first place. This phase could be called “ideation” and (sort of) begin with the realisation “I have an idea” (the starting point of the innovation journey which marks the outset of Debra´s journey as well). If we accept that this phase deserves to be considered as the start of measurement we arrive at the question how do we actually track the ideas?
In diffusion of innovation research the tracking of ideas typically occurs by following secondary indicators around the diffusion of information, i.e. publications, newscasts, patents etc. Today´s internet based economy provides a plethora of opportunities for such indicators. They are however by default not exact and also fail us within specific industries like high value / advanced manufacturing where the whole innovation journey may well proceed outside of established public information challenges.
So what if we could “inject” some sort of “tracer” into an idea from the moment of its inception? What if we could track that tracer through to market saturation? Across the dynamics of ideas changing and clustering? Would this help us measure the speed of innovation and then understand the variables affecting that?
The question is significant and due to this significance we will need to dedicate a work-package in the upcoming Erasmus+ knowledge alliance proposal to exploring it. Although possible solutions (i.e. blockchain thinking) appeal at first sight the devil is in the details….
So… the research challenge might well be phrased as “How can an idea in high value / advanced manufacturing realistically be traced from inception to market saturation?” And perhaps we should make our lives a little harder by consciously ignoring any sort of digital “registration” system J
If you are interested in learning more please visit us at www.innovation-web.eu, our LinkedIn Group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8779542/, our blog at https://www.innovation-web.eu/entov-hvm-blog,  our Researchgate project page at https://www.researchgate.net/project/Open-European-Network-for-Enterprise-Innovation-in-High-Value-Manufacturing-ENTOV-HVM and our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2014779865300180/.  You can also follow us via Twitter: @owschwabe (#innovationweb) and the LinkedIn Group page https://www.linkedin.com/company/entov.


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