One definition of innovation is “the process of creating and delivering new customer value in the marketplace.” Thomas Edison’s philosophy of value was “bringing out the secrets of nature and applying them for the happiness of man.”
Authors Michael Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott, writing in Innovate Like Edison, call this approach super-value creation.
Why “super”? Because it suggests creating value above and beyond your competitors. It is the ultimate innovation competency. Edison knew of “no better service to render during the short time we are in this world.”
Once he had gathered information about openings in the market and the needs of the consumer, Edison analyzed how his observations meshed with what his laboratories could deliver – or could learn to deliver. He then calculated how much it would cost to go after the market –or markets – he had in mind, creating an innovation plan including commercialization options. Finally, he placed the finish touch on his products: the mystique of the Edison brand name.
Edison was a master at anticipating trends and spotting gaps in the marketplace. His approach used both analytical and intuitive tools to help determine market size and the best target audience.
Thomas Edison drew customers to his products with sophisticated branding techniques plus a wide array of media and communication tools. Using Edison’s ideas of super-value creation as your guide, you can learn how to design a business model that is best suited for your ideas, or for your organization and its innovation endeavors.
Read on overview of Edison’s Five Competencies for Innovation here.
This material adapted from Innovate Like Edison, by Michael J. Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott
A multi-part series being reposted in honor of Thomas Edison’s birth February 11, 1847
Next: An introduction to Sarah Miller Caldicott’s book on innovation, Midnight Lunch