The standard text on innovation advises would-be innovators to conduct creative brainstorming sessions and seek input from outsiders -- users or communities. This kind of innovating can be effective at improving products but not at capturing bigger opportunities in the marketplace. In this book Roberto Verganti offers a new approach -- one that does not set out to solve existing problems but to find breakthrough meaningful experiences. There is no brainstorming -- which produces too many ideas, unfiltered -- but a vision, subject to criticism. It does not come from outsiders but from one person's unique interpretation. The alternate path to innovation mapped by Verganti aims to discover not how things work but why we need things. It gives customers something more meaningful -- something they can love. Verganti describes the work of companies, including Nest Labs, Apple, Yankee Candle, and Philips Healthcare, that have created successful businesses by doing just this. Nest Labs, for example, didn't create a more advanced programmable thermostat, because people don't love to program their home appliances. Nest's thermostat learns the habits of the household and bases its temperature settings accordingly. Verganti discusses principles and practices, methods and implementation. The process begins with a vision and proceeds through developmental criticism, first from a sparring partner and then from a circle of radical thinkers, then from external experts and interpreters, and only then from users. Innovation driven by meaning is the way to create value in our current world, where ideas are abundant but novel visions are rare. If something is meaningful for both the people who create it and the people who consume it, business value follows.
Very new insights to innovation for sure and must read for any person who wants to create something not just for the sake of it (individual purposes could be anything and are endless and that's exactly you will find in this book).
The book gives a very new approach to innovation. In a world full of ideas and solutions, the innovation of meaning takes place of the innovation of solutions. In order to confirm the main assumption that people are in constant search for meaning instead of solutions, the author takes the reader through an enriching journey across psychological, philosophical and business insights related to our current society and its late development. With a consequent switch from Outside-in processes to Inside-out processes, in order to find new meanings, the role of the innovator calls for an initial in-depth and long journey into his own thoughts, to create a vision. I personally find this very interesting, as it is in contrast with what is happening in our modern society, where most people look for quick answers and where the deep thinking is lost, as Christopher Bollas well describes in “Meaning and Melancholia: Life in the Age of Bewilderment”. I am not a big fan of the binary separation between Innovation for solution and innovation of meaning, as I believe one does not exclude the other: there is a grey area between the two where empathy can play an important role. However, I also a clear opposition between the two theories helps the reader understanding their difference.
I listened to Verganti during an online course for academic entrepreneurs (or at least entrepreneur in spe) a few months back. I enjoyed his spontaneous and well-reasoned ideas about innovation and meaning. I purchased his book that outlines the ideas behind innovation of mening and why it isn't innovation of ideas. He also includes tools for how to implement the method. This naturally makes it sound very simple, which I don't think it is, but at least possible. The book is a bit 'chatty', but presents a compelling story for the idea of pondering what we love and what we want others to love about our products.
A really interesting take on the role of innovation, this book focuses more on innovating meaning rather than solutions. In other words, focusing on changing the 'why' behind people's preferences and behaviors rather than simply offering new innovative products. This shift in perspective pushes the reader to start from within and harness criticism from those who also are working to make change. While repetitive at times, Verganti brings personal stories, researched examples, and tools to do it yourself, leaving you inspired and ready to try his methods.
I like very much Verganti also from webinars and I like his fresh approach. In this book he explains that there are more than enough ideas already: the genius is to find and select truly meaningful ones, not to generate even more ideas (innovation of solution vs innovation of meaning). The process is reversed (inside out) and its steps are properly described. A bit dry in the language, yet very inspiring and fresh.