April 26, 2013
The problem of innovation

The Urbanophile is a blog by Aaron M. Renn, an opinion-leading urban affairs analyst, entrepreneur, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive in the 21st century. Recently, he posted a keynote speech he gave back in February 2011 about the “problem of innovation.” His speech raises some interesting points, like the idea that “finding innovative ideas is easy. Implementing them is the hard part.”

“I was privileged to give the keynote address at Friday’s urban innovation symposium put on by the graduate student association at the UIC Department of Urban Planning and Policy. I’ll be posting an audio at some point, but I wanted to reprise for the blog the first part of it, which is about the real problem of innovation.

A lot of innovation events, contests, initiatives and such seem to be about how to get more innovative ideas or stimulate more outside the box thinking. But I’d argue that finding innovative ideas is easy. It’s implementing them that’s the hard part.

As many of you know, a couple years ago I won a global innovation competition to generate ideas for boosting public transit ridership in Chicago. My entry was a comprehensive program of over 50 ideas. After winning, I was actually able to present my program in person to the CTA’s senior leadership.

How many of those ideas do you think were implemented? That’s right. As near as I can tell, none…” 

Continue reading here.

Do you agree with Renn? Let us know in the comments!

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