7.1.4 Innovation and Information (Unfinished)

The five keys to understanding information flow in innovation.


General Principle: 

Innovation requires combining solution information with needs information.



There is always a separation between those who understand what is needed and those who have the information to address the needs. If that separation didn't exist, there wouldn't be an unsatisfied need. It is best to think about this gap in knowledge rather than resources in general because this helps us understand the nature of the challenge. Both the needs information and the solution information can either be in people's heads, their tools, or their systems. The opportunity is connecting the two types of information. 

Key Methods: 

  1. All opportunities are opening but the biggest opportunity is the gap between needs knowledge and solution knowledge. All positions are advance by moving into openings. The opening is often best defined as the gap separating knowledge about the nature of the problem and knowledge about the tools for the solution (3.1.4 Openings).
  2. The knowledge of those having needs and those having solutions is limited both in volume and time. Neither the people having needs nor those having solutions know the limits of their knowledge until they attempt solution. Even for the information they do know, they cannot recall that information upon demand but only when it is needed (2.1.1 Information Limits).
  3. Information can by trapped on either the need side or the solution side of the information gap. Just like strategic positions can be sticky or slippery, the location of the information about needs and solution can be sticky or slippery. Both types of information are hard to communicate making it difficult to close the gap between need and solution (4.5.3 Surface Holding Powe).
  4. To close the information gap, information must be moved from either from the side of the needs or the side of the solution. Moving information can mean moving people, moving tools, or moving symbolic information. In all cases, the gap must be closed (4.4 Strategic Distance),
  5. Breaking down information into smaller pieces can help us identify which parts are easier to move and in which direction. The standard methods for analyzing strategic positions also apply to the analysis of the positions of information on both of the gap. By identifying components of the information, we can more easily see which parts can be moved and how (1.3 Elemental Analysis).