Most Innovative Companies – Comparing Apples to Oranges?

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BusinessWeek and the business consulting firm BCG have published an updated version of their “most innovative companies” list.

One of my issues with these type of articles is the lack of framework.

When we define a company as more innovative than another it’s important to define what we are comparing. This would provide us the opportunity to evaluate for ourselves if the criteria being used for evaluating seems valid and valuable to us.

“Innovation” is a generic word defining a library of diverse processes and methodologies used to obtain value. Each one of those processes fits to a particular problem that needs to be solved.

The criteria for evaluating the success or failure of each one of these granular innovation efforts will depend mostly on the variables within their particular contexts.

Example: Generally Apple targets early adopters, Dell generally targets second, and third generation adopters. In other words, Dell’s product innovation needs are very different than Apple’s because their target markets have different demands. (context)

Comparing how “innovative” a company is without a framework is like comparing which would taste better in a meal, an apple or an orange? (without knowing what the meal is).

So, are the variables chosen for comparison in the article valuable to you?

Should the article authors be comparing different variables and using different criteria?

Should they be comparing competing product against product and competing service against service?

What type of innovation are they comparing? What is the criteria of value for each one of these? (how do you determine which one is successful and which one is not – within its context) ?

Does the value of innovation efforts need to be evaluated within its local and macro-ecology?

Relevant:

Wikipedia: Commensurability

Wikipedia: Innovation

Wikipedai: Conceptual Framework

Wikipedia: Evaluation Approaches (see P.R.)

Related Elsewhere on the Web

How Can we Measure Innovation?
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Daniel Montano
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Keyword: Daniel Montano, Dan Montano, user experience design, information architect

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