The Three Conditions of Innovation

In his book, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Peter Drucker presented how innovation and entrepreneurship can be a purposeful and systematic discipline. That discipline is still as relevant to today’s business environment as when the book was published back in 1985. The book explains the challenges faced by many organizations and analyzes the opportunities which can be leveraged for success.

In addition to discussing the five do’s and three don’t’s, Drucker also laid out three conditions for innovation. The innovators must always keep these guiding principles in mind as they tackle their work.

The three conditions of innovation are:

  1. Innovation is work; it requires knowledge.

The work of innovation is hard work, and it often requires great ingenuity. Also, innovators have a laser-like focus and rarely work in more than one area. Drucker pointed out that innovation, at its core, is hard, focused, purposeful work making very great demands on diligence, on persistence, and on commitment. No amount of talent, ingenuity, or knowledge can make up for the lack of the diligence, persistence, and commitment.

  1. To succeed, innovators need to build on their strengths.

While successful innovators look at opportunities over a wide range, they always ask this critical question. “Which of these opportunities fits me, fits this company, puts to work what we (or I) are good at and have shown capacity for in performance?” It is important for innovators to build on her strengths because of the risks of innovation and the demanding premium on knowledge and performance capacity required.

Also, just like any other venture, innovators have a “temperamental fit” with their innovative effort. Because innovation is hard work, businesses or people rarely do not do well in something they do not like or respect. Innovative opportunity must be important to the innovators and make sense to them. Otherwise, they will not be willing to put in the persistent, hard, frustrating work that successful innovation always requires.

  1. Innovation is an effect on the economy and society.

Another word, innovations result in changes. It could be a change in people’s behavior or a process. A change in the process can affect how people work and produce something. As a result, innovation always must be close to the market, focused on the market, indeed market-driven.