Four Stages of Innovation

October 19, 2012

Man flies airplane while group looks on

The only constant is change — Blu Bubble offers innovation strategies for their clients.

I admit it, I like change.   As long as it’s part of a structured process that I can understand, then I’m comfortable taking a gamble on a new way of doing things.  Some people lack this adaptability gene and are ruled by fear and anxiety. There’s a fancy word in the business world for change: innovation.Last night I attended a Women in Consulting meeting in Menlo Park and briefly met the founder of Blu Bubble, a firm whose specialty is innovation.  Although we didn’t talk for long, I was curious about her company, so I visited their website.  What captured my interest was a candid picture of a group doing something creative—I could tell because the people were smiling and having fun.   The focal point of the image was a man holding a make-shift airplane above his head, ready to launch it.  The look of confidence on his face, combined with the hand on hip power position was empowering and triumphant—Blu Bubble must be doing something right for that cognitive and emotional response to shine through in the photograph.

As we all know, the only constant is change or in business-speak: innovation.  To prepare you and your company to remain in this gentle mystery of life, here are the four stages of innovation as seen through the eyes of nineteenth-century mathematician Jules-Henri Poincare:

  1. Preparation: immersing ourselves in the problem, gathering a broad range of data
  2. Incubation: placing the possibilities on the mental back burner—a time for daydreaming
  3. Illumination: thrilling in the “aha” moment when the insight emerges
  4. Execution: following through with the action, bringing the change into fruition
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