For the past few years, innovation has been a big topic in conversation about business management. A small industry fuels that conversation with articles, books, and conferences. Designers, too, are involved. Prominent product-design firms offer workshops and other services promising innovation. Leading design schools promote "design thinking" as a path to innovation. But despite all the conversation, there is little consensus on what innovation is and how to achieve it. The current conversation about innovation is similar to an earlier conversation about quality. As recently as the late 1980s, quality was something businesses actively sought but had trouble defining.…
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