Understanding Innovation: Mapping the Landscape

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53 pages
The ability to innovate is unique to humans. How did this ability evolve? When and where does innovation flourish? Answers to those questions can help us understand how to innovate more successfully.
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Om författaren

Alan Barker is Managing Director of Kairos Training Limited, a training consultancy specialising in communication skills and creativity. He is the author of 16 books, including Improve Your Communication Skills, How to Manage Meetings and How to Solve Almost Any Problem.

Alan read English at

The ability to innovate is unique to humans. No other animal has the cognitive flexibility to imagine new ideas and translate them into workable solutions. And this skill is needed now more than ever. How did this ability evolve? When and where does innovation flourish? The landscape of innovation explores the evolutionary roots of creativity, the social circumstances in which innovation can take root, and how we can put knowledge to work in the service of innovation. Understanding what makes us innovative can help us create radically new solutions, new enterprises – and a better world. 

About the author

Alan Barker is an author, trainer and coach specialising in creativity, problem-solving and communication skills, with a particular interest in language. He has published over 25 books and ebooks, and has worked with managers on every continent except (so far) Australia and Antarctica. He is an affiliate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a member of the European Speechwriter Network.

  • About the author
  • Series introduction
  1. Defining innovation
    1. Creativity and innovation: a marriage of convenience?
    2. Peter Drucker and systematic innovation
    3. The Maverick Myth
    4. The origins of innovation
    5. The evolution of creativity
    6. The cathedral of the mind
    7. Language: the liberator of innovative thinking
  2. Establishing a culture of innovation
    1. Chaos and creativity: the industrial district as a culture of innovation
    2. Top-down or bottom-up? Two cultures of innovation
    3. The Science Park: vision of a new culture of innovation?
    4. Internalising the industrial district: creating an innovative culture inside organisations
    5. Sites of special creativity: developing innovative environments
  3. Innovation and knowledge management
    1. The idea of knowledge work
    2. The challenge of managing knowledge workers
    3. Capture and retrieval: knowledge management as mechanical memory
    4. Knowledge management and collaborative learning  
    5. Rationalism vs empiricism: the ongoing debate
    6. Tacit and explicit knowledge
    7. Kolb’s learning cycle
    8. Chris Argyris and double-loop learning
    9. Creating knowledge: Nonaka and Takeuchi
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix: where to go from here