Do Innovation Consultants Kill Innovation?
” Are companies more innovative than ever before? Judging from the vast number of Fortune 500 companies professing their commitment to innovation, the answer is yes.
But we sense that the more a company talks, thinks, and strategizes about innovation, the less real, big innovation it produces.” -Jens Martin Skibsted

Do large companies really want innovation?
Are they looking for better solutions to start with?
Is the iPod really an innovation or a better solution to the problem?
Is innovation what 3M did with inventing the sticky note or Xerox with the mouse and icons?
The biggest problem I have seen across many industries is the willingness to solve a problem with the first idea or idea with the path of least resistance. This first idea/solution sits way down low on the normal distribution of ideas but is taken with the belief that they can iterate to the best solution.

This makes me think of trying to take an average or subpar runner and making him an Olympic champion. With all the training, money, technology in the world this average runner will improve. But will he ever become a champion? Not likely. So if you are going to train someone you find the person with the above average natural ability with a large lung capacity and drive to win. Apply the training, money and technology to him and you will have a better chance at a champion.

This applies to design ideas as well. The hard part is working toward the best solution to start with. Bill Buxton points out there are 2 industries in particular that have this baked into the way they do work: 1) film industry and 2) the car industry. There processes work through to get to the better script or better design.