Exploring novelty aspects of innovation with the help of boranges

In my last post about innovation basics, I mentioned that most definitions of innovation include requires a level of novelty. What is meant with novelty in terms of innovation? Let’s explore it further by the use of of the delicious borange fruit.

A freshly cut borange (or bappelsin in Swedish).

Novelty does not mean that that it has to be radically new. It could be an unexpected combination of two or more things that are well known.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No look! It is a borange!
It is a what?!

Say for example that you have been able to create a new fruit by combining DNA from oranges and bananas. Let’s call this new fruit borange (or bappelsin in Swedish).

Neither bananas, nor oranges are novel, but combination of the two brings a high degree of novelty.

Is it an innovation?

So, is the borange an innovation?

Think about it for a couple of seconds before continue reading.

In this case there are no right or wrong answers. There are only rightier; and wrongier answers.

My perspective is that the borange begins its fruitful journey as an invention. This is because that it is something novel and it has a degree of non-obviousness to it, but has not yet reached its market or been sucessful in providing value.

Let’s imagine that the first borange could only be grown in special laboratories, tasted like oatmeal and would only be ripe for five minutes before being spoiled. In addition to this, it was also introduced to the market at a price of $500 000 a piece. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that this would most likely lead to a commercial failure and the borange would not evolve past the stage of being an invention.

However, if the borange instead would taste delicious, was affordably priced and could be provided in ample supply, then the effort would finally bear fruit (pun intended) and I would consider it an innovation.

Let’s go bananas! Or I mean “let’s go boranges!”
/Kalle

PS. On a related topic. Would you consider pen-pineapple-apple-pen an innovation or just simply annoying? Please feel free to share your thoughts =).

Three things that I am grateful for today

  1. People! People are awesome!
  2. That after weeks of medication and cleaning Ingvar’s ears now seems fine. Ingvar being my youngest cat. I am also grateful that I only have to clean two pair of cat ears daily (Kurt and Elvis).
  3. That I’ve started writing on this blog again

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