UIEtips: Debunking the Myths of Innovation: An Interview with Scott Berkun

Jared Spool

September 19th, 2013

Being innovative sounds scarier than it really is. It doesn’t necessarily mean creating something new, but perhaps repurposing something in a new way that brings added value to a user. Scott Berkun is a master of looking at the concept of innovation from all different angles. In this article he debunks the myths around innovation. Scott’s unique take on innovation is why we’ve asked him back to the UI18 conference in Boston this October 21-23. If you ‘re looking to inspire your team to be more innovative in doing creative work, explore Scott’s UI18 workshop: Innovating on a Deadline.

In his research, Scott Berkun, the author of the popular book, “The Myths of Innovation,” has done a fantastic job of demystifying innovation and debunking dangerous assumptions about how breakthroughs happen. Back in 2007, Christine Perfetti spoke with Scott about his book and his research in the area of innovation.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Christine: In your opinion, what are some of the obstacles that prevent design teams from creating innovative products?

Scott: The biggest obstacles are political and psychological. Design teams are sometimes so detached from what the business or engineering leaders are doing that their big ideas are stillborn – the designers aren’t innovating in ways that the rest of their organization could possibly be receptive to.

Some call this politics, but that’s half of the innovation game: lining up the resources and relationships needed to support a brilliant design idea. There are countless innovations that never became products because their champions ignored the politics necessary to bring their ideas to the world.

On the psychology side, designers can be surprisingly conservative and almost shy about presenting their ideas to others. They’re so afraid of criticism that they never allow their passions to show, especially in a confrontational situation, which ironically is exactly where their passions might be of the greatest use to them. One chapter in my book focuses on the psychology of ideas, and how creators always face the same criticisms and challenges. Being aware of those challenges and preparing oneself to handle them gracefully is a large part of being a successful innovator.

 

Read the article: Debunking the Myths of Innovation: An Interview with Scott Berkun

What do you mean when you use the word innovation?? Tell us about it below.

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