About Innovation and Learning
After some discussions on XperLink about innovation and learning, I'd like to add some more thoughts on the subject. To me, Innovators are learners, not experts - It does not mean that an expert CANNOT innovate: it just means that they will innovate by means of their primal need to learn.
Pioneering, invention, entrepreneurship, origination are all concepts associated with innovation. Dictionary definitions of innovation agree it is the implementation of something new. Not the invention itself, but how it is introduced or integrated into society. Innovation is the process of implementing new concepts.
How do we innovate, and what drives the process? Is it the desire to show off our expertise, or perhaps a much more primal need - the desire to learn?
The most significant innovations of our time have been birthed out of an insatiable desire to gain understanding and advantage in a particular field. Inquiring minds will ask, "What can we learn from this situation? How can we achieve more efficiency?"
In seeking to open up the market for a new concept or product, the innovator will search out experts to help him get there. He will push the boundaries of what can be done, of established knowledge, of possibilities, to learn more about the way forward. An innovator is a prime learner, an open-minded individual for whom the whole world is the classroom.
It is in the conversations and interactions with experts that the innovator will find the way to give birth to his dream. The accumulated knowledge of generations will be the light that reveals just the right door - the one that will open up to introduce the new concept to the world.
More than likely, expert opinion will tell him it can't be done. The innovator will then go out and do it.
Participate in the debate
It seems that a third "category" is necessary... scholars. While experts may have learned and refined their knowledge, they are always seeking to learn more. That breeds innovation, thus innovators. The third category of scholars may be content in relaying the knowledge provided by experts and innovators.