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Caveman Innovation

By Cathy Edgington posted 03-05-2015 13:21


Wikipedia, on innovation:

Innovation is a new idea, device or process.[1] Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs.[2] This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments and society. The term innovation can be defined as something original and more effective and, as a consequence, new, that “breaks into” the market or society.[3] While a novel device is often described as an innovation, in economics, management science, and other fields of practice and analysis innovation is generally considered to be a process that brings together various novel ideas in a way that they have an impact on society.

Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself.[citation needed] Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than doing the same thing better.[citation needed]


Caveman Innovation, by Cathy Edgington


I have learned and understand full well that innovation has to be capable of pushing technology to new horizons leading to multiple, salable technologies and the capabilities developed and qualified. Great innovation must be affordable, manufacturable, and appeal to a market. In a truly innovative environment, there are many sources of innovative ideas. A method of collecting innovation is the only way this process can be nurtured and grown into profitability. Innovative strength comes from every thread of the fabric of the organization. Without a method to collect the innovative ideas and weave them together; the fabric becomes thin and torn, old and useless. This fabric is woven from highly educated individuals with and without experience. It comes from slightly educated individuals, with minimal and extensive experience, and it also comes from those individuals without formal education but many years of experience. Creation of diverse teams mixed with all phases of experience and education can produce a robust fabric, beautiful in the texture of the threads woven together, this is what gives it the strength required against thinning and tearing.


Management is essential in removing roadblocks on the process to develop innovation and is crucial to its capability to become a reality, critical to its success. Just this morning, I heard it said as “an experienced mind with fresh eyes”. It is appreciable that this experienced mind be receptive to development of technologies that have evolved since that first (failed) experience. For example, the caveman uses a hammer to break a piece of granite, but because that hammer had a clay head, the clay broke and it didn’t work. Does the caveman try a hammer again? The caveman wondered what would happen if the clay hammerhead was replaced with iron. My caveman was an innovative caveman who wondered if the iron would crack the granite. It did. He didn’t let the other cavemen convince him that hammers don’t crack granite based on personal history and he went on to make a wheel from chipping a chunk of granite with his new iron sledgehammer. The caveman took his granite wheel and placed it beneath a wooden box. The cart was able to move heavy loads that had never been moved before. This caveman was not formally trained in anything, but he had a great deal of experience fostering the ideas within him. His willingness to try out his innovation went on to provide a profitable benefit to everyone. You know the rest of this story.


Got Funding? Technology studies need to be done prior to applying for funding. This is the necessary foundation for all innovative ideas to flourish. If someone very close to the spirit of the exposed innovation is leading the investigation there is a higher chance for achievement.  This person can guide the necessary resources for greater successes.  The information gathered would create a library on the technology with a high resolution of relevant assets and features.  This would enable higher degrees of germaneness of key words in technology searches, resources and allows for discovery of innovation that already exists and exposes market strategies, solutions, and applications.  This research will it will uncover successes and failures of others shooting at similar targets.  Being close to the technology allows the innovation and development to be socialized to appreciate needs, issues and constraints.  It also nurtures the technology with the end user, creating a partnership for shared success.


The research exercise will also uncover diverse and profitable market opportunities previously unidentified, applicable to the innovation. This is tremendously valuable data to communicate during the request for funding. (The background research will also provide pertinent contacts for assisting in the development of the technology once a project receives funding.) When this initial background research is completed, a relevant proposal can be built with some degree of accuracy to request necessary funding as it introduces profit potential.


In my next blog, I’ll cover more on the background and market research for developing innovation.


  2. Jump up ^ Maranville, S (1992), Entrepreneurship in the Business Curriculum, Journal of Education for Business, Vol. 68 No. 1, pp.27-31

3.Jump up ^ Based on Frankelius, P. (2009), Questioning two myths in innovation literature, Journal of High Technology Management Research, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 40–51.