Writing for the Wall Street Journal, JC Spender and Bruce Strong attempt to take the mystery out of innovation and its inspirations, insisting that a company's own employees are the main source of innovative ideas.
They explain: "Most great ideas for enhancing corporate growth and profits aren’t discovered in the lab late at night, or in the isolation of the executive suite. They come from the people who daily fight the company’s battles, who serve the customers, explore new markets and fend off the competition. In other words, the employees."
Spender and Strong observe that companies that have made innovation part of their continuing strategy have done so by "harnessing the creative energies and insights of their employees across functions and ranks. One of the ways they have managed this is through what the authors call "innovation communities". These are initiated by senior management looking to investigate possibilities for new products, markets or business processes. A forum of employees is put together to explore the desired areas.