Crossing the knowledge and corporate boundaries to systematize invention and innovation

Date of publication: September 22, 2002


The process of corporate innovation is often left to outside consultants and internal/external teams specializing in the invention process. Market researchers are all too often neglected in this process, even though the newly emerging tools of researchers can accelerate innovation. What may be needed is a researcher-friendly system with five properties: rapid and user friendly (days and weeks); consumer-based (to ensure ongoing inputs from the end user); knowledge-based (using data, not guesswork); reality-based (using observation to identify actual behaviors leading to these new products); and modularity (to allow flexible sequencing of specific steps in response to new learning). This paper demonstrates the integration of current tools into a flexible innovation system and deals with the creation of specific types of products (sandwich, car features, respectively), responding to the increasing use of the car as a place where food is eaten and beverages are drunk. This approach is 'boundary crossing' as we go beyond the current boundaries of cars as vehicles for transportation, and look at cars as venues for food consumption.

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