In his article in Intelligent Enterprise magazine, Stewart McKie recalls for us the seven sources for innovative opportunity identified by the great management consultant Peter Drucker. First, expect the unexpected, because the first opportunity is presented by the surprising failures or successes of products or services; second, look for incongruities (for example, the gap between what is and what should be); third, identify special needs, such as the need to remove a process bottleneck; fourth, be aware of structural changes in industries or markets, because such changes are ripe for innovation; fifth, and for the same reason, look for changes in demographics, because shifts in population characteristics change the needs that systems hope to satisfy; sixth, be alert to mood swings and trends (what’s in and what’s out) so you can prepare yourself for quick response when you see new opportunity; and seventh, keep abreast of new knowledge and scientific advances, and see where they might be applied. Turn each of those seven opportunities into a question to yourself, and you’ll begin to get ideas for an appropriate strategy for innovation.

Intelligent Enterprise 1 Jan 2004