slideshow backgroundslideshow background
BIG THINKER
“Between the dawn of an innovation and the realization of its potential is where business edge is gained.”
Vito Di Bari, innovation designer and futurist
Understanding the true shape of the innovation curve
Image: Federico Ciamei
Share on LinkedIn
Share

Understanding the true shape of the innovation curve

Kenny MacIver — August 2014

Smart companies know the optimal time to jump into new areas of innovation, says Vito Di Bari — “when nothing appears to be happening.”

Most major technology innovations hit the headlines decades before they can actually be exploited. As a result, companies struggle to understand how such changes — the world wide web, mobile apps, the Internet of Things, Big Data and so on — will impact of their industry, and when they need to invest to safeguard their prosperity.

According to innovation designer Vito Di Bari, that is because few people appreciate the true shape of the technology innovation curve. “The world is made up of two kinds of experts on how innovation evolves,” he maintains. “There are those who say that the curve of innovation is a linear flow and others who suggest it goes by big steps. I personally believe the pace of innovation is more of a paso doble: one step, one pause, one step,” he argues.

“When a significant innovation first shows up, its potential is widely talked about, with all the usual hype and buzz,” he says, “but then there is a period of immobility when nothing seems to happen.”

And there are some good reasons for such a pause. At that initial point of sighting of a new technology, getting involved might simply cost too much or progress might be held back by some small, but apparently fundamental, aspect of the new technology that will take several years solve, he outlines. “As a result, the innovation seems to go into a state of hibernation — or at least its progress is camouflaged. But then, all of a sudden, it awakens and there is as avalanche of activity” — a wealth of new opportunity and creativity as new industries and companies are born and old ones are disrupted. He cites the four-decade long pause between the invention of mobile telephony and its mass-market exploitation.

“So the true flow of innovation is that there is always a pause between the moment where we find out what’s new and the moment when it is ready for adoption,” he says. But that pause is a time for action.
Competitive turning point

“My opinion is that the space between the dawn of an innovation and the realization of its potential is where real competitive advantage is made. So if you are a smart company you don’t work [to exploit] an innovation when it first turns up; you don’t work on it when it’s out there and accepted. You work on an innovation when nothing is seemingly happening because this is the right moment to acquire major competitive edge.”

He highlights the Internet of Things as a topical example. “With the Internet of Things we are already coming towards the end of this pause; we are a moment before the jump, the big pulse of this innovation. So I think that this is the last call for companies to invest and take advantage of it.”

Vito Di Bari was a keynote speaker on the Fujitsu World Tour 2014

First published
August 2014
Share on LinkedIn
Share
Vito Di Bari profile picture
About: Vito Di Bari
A professor, think-tank director and consultant, Vito Di Bari has been exploring the symbiosis between design and innovation for over two decades. He is the author of 11 books, including the Neofuturist City Manifesto, which was instrumental in Milan’s bid for Expo 2015.

Your choice regarding cookies on this site

Our website uses cookies for analytical purposes and to give you the best possible experience.

Click on Accept to agree or Preferences to view and choose your cookie settings.

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer.

Some cookies are necessary in order to deliver the best user experience while others provide analytics or allow retargeting in order to display advertisements that are relevant to you.

For a full list of our cookies and how we use them, please visit our Cookie Policy


Essential Cookies

These cookies enable the website to function to the best of its ability and provide the best user experience for you. They can still be disabled via your browser settings.


Analytical Cookies

We use analytical cookies such as those used by Google Analytics to give us information about the way our users interact with i-cio.com - this helps us to make improvements to the site to enhance your experience.

For a full list of analytical cookies and how we use them, visit our Cookie Policy


Social Media Cookies

We use cookies that track visits from social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn - these cookies allow us to re-target users with relevant advertisements from i-cio.com.

For a full list of social media cookies and how we use them, visit our Cookie Policy