Innovation does not always require invention.
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You'll notice that maybe 1/3rd to 1/2 of the methods of innovation on this mindmap are importing innovation from elsewhere to your area of focus. They're localization, not invention.
(Peruse in your browser: https://my.mindnode.com/4DgHF6EMrcrz9ZSVLps2Je52fSuCTPReyx66T1xT)
This style of innovation looks like one of two things.
- It can look like importing existing innovation from the left of the Rogers curve and applying it to your more conservative, late-to-adopt clients.
In this case, you're not inventing anything, you're simply creating real value by helping your clients apply what the more risk-positive in their industry have already invented and refined.
- Invention-less innovation can look like importing from other domains.
It might not be a perfect example, but I think of lean manufacturing. It's arguable that the genesis of lean in manufacturing predates the application of lean to software development by 50 years.
Significant value was created by importing and adapting the lean manfacturing concept to software development.
Invention-less innovation is why the idea of the "T-shaped expert" is important.