DNA of Innovation

hot matter helixThe Accelerating Curve of Human Innovation
Thank you for visiting the Hot Matter website. We invite you to join us in our quest to explore and document perhaps the most incredible chapter of the human journey ever. The rate of human innovation is accelerating. New kinds of innovation now pervade almost every aspect of business and our personal lives – fueled by new synergistic forces that have arisen in the early 21st Century.

From dirt floors, living in caves to exploring the depths of space, earth, body and mind we march on in search of a destiny none of us can fully grasp. What will be the legacy of our human race? Where are we headed? How will we live our lives in the future? These are some of the questions we will discuss on the Hot Matter site.

The impact of the accelerating innovations curve has been transformational to both businesses and individuals. For business it means almost endless possibilities strategically, for reengineering their core business, and tactically in creating new products and services that could elevate them above their competitors. It is similar for individuals, having almost endless possibilities to recreate themselves and to meaningfully enrich their lives.

But, what exactly is under the innovations hood? How is new innovation created? What are the elemental characteristics of today’s innovation?

The DNA of Innovation
These questions bring us to our underlying premise – the DNA of Innovation. Much like a living organism, innovation has a DNA. There are seven strands of the Innovation DNA, including: digits, techniques, ingredients, materials, architecture, information, and people.

These are the elements that comprise all new products and services. And when these are combined with today’s advanced design capabilities – entrepreneurs, engineers and product designers can more easily create new to world solutions for consumers that meaningfully improve their lives.

dna of innovation

Below is a short definition of each strand. You can imagine these as the building blocks of innovation.

1. Technique
The processes, methods and skills used to make things (includes software).

2. Ingredients
The chemicals, compounds/mixtures, materials and component parts used to make new products and services. Typically, ingredients are not visible to the user.

3. Architecture
The end-user “functionality” of products and services.

4. Information
All forms of information and knowledge that underlie and drive the value of products and services.

5. Aesthetics
The look, feel, sound, taste or smell of products and services.

6. Digital Properties
The digital properties of the product itself, or the means by which it is delivered.

7. People
The role of people at time of consumption.

This Innovation DNA framework has several uses. It can be used – to break innovation down into its elemental characteristics, as conceptual guidelines for designing new products and services, or to analyze the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful new products and service.

New States of Being Human
The end result of successful innovation is to improve lives and life improvement is also happening at an accelerated rate. Despite how we feel day to day about the stress of technological change, lives are being improved in many more ways today. Some product adoptions are a wow, such as the first time we used a smart phone. Others, such as the greater efficiency and reliability of our automobiles, come on rather stealthily from continuous incremental improvements made by manufacturers.

Either with the wows or through stealth, we are living different and better lives today than just a decade or two ago and incredibly better over the span of just three generations. One relevant framework for understanding the value of innovation to human beings is shown below.

We use this routinely, as marketing research consultants, to test the value of new products and services or to uncover ways to innovate in any given product or service category. High value innovation benefits the consumer in three ways – better able to complete essential human tasks, advancing or achieving as a human being, and receiving important emotional payoffs.

The most highly valued innovation today actually creates New States of Being. By this we mean, these three consumer benefits combine to create new states of being for those who consume/use the new product or service. The new product or services delivers:

Task accomplishments such as nutrition, entertainment, communications – which happen better, easier, quicker

Advancing as a human being with respect to knowledge, skills, and other important accomplishments

Emotional payoffs from seeing, possessing or consuming the product or service

consumer value equation

Yes, our lives are improving thanks to a long succession of innovation – accelerating now and ever present throughout the ages.