Innovation niches, beyond user-centered design
In BW, an interesting article about next-to-be innovation niche: "What niche fields will contribute to tomorrow's great innovations? Ecology, gaming, and social networking, for starters" by Andrew Zolli. Some excerpts I found interesting below... first a statement:
Wander the halls of any of today's ever-multiplying corporate-innovation conferences, and you'll find experts playing to packed houses, evangelizing the power of user-driven design, the importance of ethnographic research, and the value of an internal "innovation culture." (...) Then what? To find the next deep wellsprings of innovation, you have to learn to listen to "weak signals"—fringe ideas today that will be common wisdom tomorrow.
It also addresses some innovation niches:
Videogames have begun to outgrow their entertainment context and find new uses as innovation discovery engines. That's because the agent-based models that drive games under the hood are becoming sophisticated enough to model real-world social, marketplace, and competitive scenarios. (...) Making the Invisible Visible: As companies such as Procter & Gamble (PG) and Target (TGT) increasingly look outside their walls for their next breakthrough, they must rely on specialized maps of their innovation networks. The fields of social network analysis and network cartography are rapidly maturing and allowing companies to visualize their customer base, their supply chain, and their field of influence.