Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Peter Drucker's Theory of the Do's and Don'ts of Innovation

Within the principles of innovation there are a number of Do’s and don’ts that an innovation should follow when innovating! Drucker calls these the conditions of innovation.


    1)Purposeful, systematic innovation begins with the analysis of opportunities. This analysis should always occur as the innovator needs to find that gap in the market to create that service or product which will satisfy the gap.

    2) Innovation is both conceptual and perceptual. The second imperative of innovation is to go out, look, ask and listen. Successful innovators use both sides of their brains which allow them to work out analytically what the innovation has to be to satisfy an opportunity. From this then you have to look at customers and users to see what their expectations, values and needs are. Doing this allows you to get the right innovation.  

    3) Has to be effective and focused. The innovation should only do one thing! All effective innovations are breathtakingly simple, the greatest praise that an innovator can receive is somebody saying “this is so simple, why didn’t I think of it?”. By them saying this allows the innovator to see he has succeeded with the acknowledgement of doing something right.

    4) Effective innovations start small and should only do one specific thing. If innovations do no start small they escalate and then there is not enough time to make adjustments so will end up most likely failing!


1) Don’t try to be clever. Innovations are handled by ordinary human beings and if you make something way to advanced for the manufacturers to produce and the customers to use then this is bound to fail!  

    2) Don’t diversify, don’t splinter and don’t try to do too many things at once. Innovations that stray from the core (market knowledge can be seen as a good core) are like to diffuse and only remain as ideas and not actual innovations.

    3) Don’t try to innovate for the future, innovate for the present (now!). Innovations may not even reach their maturity until 20 years down the line so you have to be persistant who knows what the future holds if you are trying to innovate for it. By the time you have come up with an idea for that product when the times comes in the future people may have already done the idea or it may even be outdated in this ever changing world! So innovate for now, today’s problems and not tomorrows!

(Drucker P.F, 1985, 122)
Drucker. P.F, (1985), Innovation and Entrepreneurial, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann

Moving on from this there are three conditions in which all three are obvious but often go disregarded. Therefore here they are:

     1) Innovation is work. It requires knowledge and great ingenuity to succeed in such a ever changing work place. One big thing about innovators also is that they rarely work in more than one area of the field – for example look at Steve Jobs, when at apple he only ever stuck at innovating the new phones and Macs at iPhone he never branched off into anything else but stuck just with the technology field with Apple. With innovation comes hard focused, purposeful work, making very great demands on diligence, persistence and commitment. However if these are lacking then no amount of talent, ingenuity and knowledge will avail.

     2) To succeed innovators must build on their strengths. Building on their strengths allows them to become better innovators more aware of the field and become a strong force within it. The thing that innovators must ask themselves is “ which of these opportunities fits me, fits this company, puts to work what ( or I) are good at and have shown capacity for in performance?”.

    3) Innovation is an effect in the economy and society. Innovation can cause a change in the behaviour of many things such as customers with new products, teachers, farmers and eye surgeons to name a few with new ways of doing things and new products. This relates to the fact that innovation is also a change in a process for example the way in which people work (new working techniques for example with teachers with new innovative teaching styles) and they way in which a company produces things, for example new machinery at a company which can increase the speed and quality of production and save a company millions of pounds.

Therefore to sum up, innovation always needs to be close to the market working side by side allowing innovators to spot gaps and capitalise on them. Innovation also should be very market driven and always go with the market. A market driven company uses a strategy whereby a firm lets the marketplace direct its product innovation. (Product Development and Management Association) Allowing the market to direct its products/services means that innovators are never out of date with their products and never miss an opportunity!

(Drucker P.F, 1985, 126)
Drucker. P.F, (1985), Innovation and Entrepreneurial, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann
Product Development and Management Association, Availiable here: ( Date accessed: 2/1/12)

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