Usually in big companies innovation tends to be driven by a well designed process. The design of the process may fail to include some unconventional source of innovation.
We may call the first unconventional source of innovation Innovation Contamination.
Forget about your core business and start looking far away from your day to day activity. How other companies innovate and what products and services they are delivering to their customer. You should look very far from your garden. One the best examples of this come from Ferrari and the Great Ormond Street Hospital. The original article, from an italian newspaper, can be found here. Efficiency in the pit stops translates in efficiency (and innovation) in the surgery room.
We can also talk about Innovation from the street.
Sitting on a well defined innovation process will sometime lead you to sit to your desk and look at the real world through a magnifying glass. If your company is in the consumer market you should take time on the street to look at what your customers are doing with your products and services. I mean, what they are really doing, not what they are supposed to do. In the phone market this will mean to spend some time in malls, lounges, stations and airports looking at how people are using their phones, what they are doing with those. If I had to cite and example on this I would suggest you to give a look at Jan Chipchase blog.
Innovation Reuse is another interesting one.
Innovation does not only comes from disrupting technology but, also, from a smart reuse of something you have done in the past. Simply recombine what you have done in the past and you may found interesting stuff sitting on your desk.
Why do I blog this?
There are so many places where you can find innovative ideas. Sometimes it’s difficult to think outside the box.