The San Francisco based User Experience Bookclub had their first meeting on Sunday February 15th. We talked about “The Myths of Innovation” by Scott Berkun. There was only 5 of us meeting at the Tiny Pictures office amidst the pouring rain outside.

We made the most of it as we discussed how each innovation is really just a series of smaller innovations. For instance your keyboard required the typewriter, electricity, plastics, written language, operating systems, circuits, USB connectors, and binary data. According to the book if any of these were not invented then the keyboard as we know it wouldn’t exist.

This led to the discussion of what or when something becomes an innovation. For instance when did twitter suddenly become “main stream”? If you watch the news today the reports will mention their twitter feeds. We felt that it was the marketability of Twitter. For instance those who were watching the Superbowl were also twittering about the commercials. “What was the deal with that commercial?” Or, “That (fill in blank) was a great commercial!”. In fact, it was discovered that Denny’s wasn’t really ready for the hype created around it’s Superbowl commercial. One of my own Twitter friends mentioned that their site had gone down due to traffic overload after appearing during the Superbowl to advertise their free breakfast.

We addressed each chapter of the book which addresses one myth, such as:
1 – The Myth of the Epiphany
2 – We Understand the History of Innovation
3 – There is a Method for Innovation
4 – People Love New Ideas
5 – The Lone Inventor
6 – Good Ideas are Hard to Find
7 – Your Boss Knows More about Innovation then You
8 – The Best Ideas Win
9 – Problems and Solutions
10 – Innovation is always Good

In the end, we walked away inspired. Innovation is different than we have come to believe. Innovation involves several people, time, and ideas. We are not lone inventors working towards a solution. It could be a solution for now that will lead to another idea. We are free now to change the world as we see fit unencumbered with the misconceptions about how innovation happens.