The diagram below sums up my view of how innovative new ideas, technology, or knowledge gains traction in the real world.
You can put things into two categories: core and context. What’s core to you may be context to somebody next to you, or vice versa. I’m not a great illustrator but you can see what I’m trying to tell you from the picture above.
Core and Context
What’s core to you includes: creative ideas, original contents, core competences, unique capabilites, keen insight, knowledge and expertise, you name it. In other words, what’s core to you is something you have–both tangible and intangible stuff.
On the other hand, what’s context to you is something external to you. I mean, context is what surrounds you, like communities of interests, social networks, and collaborative web of relationships, for instance. Context is where you put your core, or content, into practice to see if it works and learn from the experience.
Hit the Road, Jack
Now enter the third dimension into the picture–the road. There’re different types of roads, paved or not, for instance. Even the same road can have different conditions depending on the weather. The road is where the action is. And your great ideas or technical prowess can make it or break it when the proverbial tire hits the road.
In a nutshell, what this diagram tells you is this: If you want your wheel to hit the road, you need a right kind of tire. Tires are generally closer to the road, so that they can tell you a lot more about the road conditions. On top of that, with the right kind of tires, you can hit the road earlier, faster.
In this wheel-tire-road analogy, you can get an insight into the practice called fast innovation, open innovation, or collaborative innovation. If you want to get to market fast, you need to join hands with the web or community of users, consumers, and partners who know more about the market.
If you want to run your innovation initiative smoothly on different road and weather conditions, you need to watch out for any significant changes in them. That way you can sustain your initiative and keep the wheel, and the tire, running whatever come your way.
My advice? Focus on your wheels–you’ve got more than one, I’m pretty sure. Search for the right kind of tires that gains enough traction on the road you’re planning to run on. That’s the key message of this wheel-tire-road analogy. Thanks for reading this through. Have a great day.