Peter Drucker wrote that there are seven sources of innovation. Here they are, in reverse order of importance.
7. New technology and scientific findings
6. Changes in public perception
5. Demographic changes
4. Industry market and structures
3. Process needs
1. The unexpected
One of the most successful innovations -the Sony Walkman demonstrates several of these principles.
The Sony Walkman was originally designed as a music player for couples, based on Akio Morita's observation of teenagers lugging their radios with them on vacations (an incongruity) and came equipped with two headphone jacks and a recording facility. It even had a "hotline" button, partially overriding the sound from the cassette and allowing one user to talk to the other over the music.
Of course, nobody really used it like that and Sony was quick to see that most people used it as a personal, portable music player (unexpected) and redesigned it accordingly.
What are the incongruous and unexpected events and behaviours in your market? And what are the tools you can use to find and use them?
Thanks to Antonella Pavese for writing about Drucker's seven sources in her excellent blog on women, technology and happiness.