Just a few years ago, launching an Internet startup typically entailed making the rounds on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, pitching venture capitalists an idea and a business plan illustrated by a handful of slides. Today, PowerPoint decks are replaced by working prototypes and the business plans by waiting lists for beta test accounts. Even the venture capitalists are being replaced by angels and self-financed entrepreneurs, as the cost of bringing a Web application to market falls below $100,000. Innovation, long the exclusive domain of research and development groups (R&D) and their long-range roadmaps, has gone lightweight—agile, capital-efficient, and user-focused. Welcome to the emerging world of lightweight innovation on the Web.
Although this new model is currently most commonly found in the Web industry, over the next decade it is likely to set a new pace for every sector. While open innovation sought to merely expand the sources of new ideas, lightweight innovation seeks to disaggregate and accelerate R&D, more systematically engage end-users, and constantly invent and re-invent new platforms. Lightweight innovation itself is a disruptive way of thinking about idea generation and execution, and stands to fundamentally transform the way large organizations innovate and profit from innovation.
The report includes an introduction followed by these five components:
The Strategic Challenge takes a look at the process of innovation and suggests a move towards a less "heavy" R&D process to something more lightweight and distributed.
Lightweight Innovation looks beyond today's open innovation practices, driven primarily by the Web, to something more agile, lean, and user driven.
The Characteristics of Lightweight Innovation breaks down what lightweight innovation looks like and how to recognize it when it's happening complete with a detailed list of characteristics and current examples.
The Drivers of Lightweight Innovation explores new disruptive technologies that are driving lightweight innovation. This section outlines seven areas of technology that will have the greatest impact on large research organizations over the next decade.
Lightweight Innovation is a guidebook for organization outside of the Web industry interested in experimenting with lightweight models.
Ultimately you will find a list of Do's and Don'ts for putting lightweight innovation into practice.
Anthony Townsend, the report's author presented the core ideas of Lightweight Innovation in a webcast.