We increasingly see the world and much of its innovation through the lens of cities not countries, but there is little clarity around where the true innovation hotspots of today, let alone tomorrow, are to be found. While there is general agreement around which are the most innovative countries, the lack of consensus around the criteria used to identify an innovative city has produced multiple views and varied answers. If we want to understand more about the approaches that are the most effective in leading locations, we must decide on the best way to assess which cities are the most innovative.
‘Early adopters’, ‘trendsetters’, ‘opinion leaders’, ‘first movers’ - are the labels describing those who are ahead of the mainstream, who are keen to try out new things. But do these terms describe the same attributes – or are there subtle differences? If so, what is the difference and how can companies proactively incorporate using these groups and their insight into their innovation management process.
I have long argued that companies should look more at the people side of innovation rather than concentrating all their efforts on processes and concepts. The necessity of building trust as a basis for successful open innovation makes this even more relevant, and it also brings more power to the people who really drive innovation within a company.