Innovation Sources

By Martin Gilliard

Innovation sources are many and varied. It is often thought that innovation stems from the great leaders of the world. While this is often true there are many other sources of innovation, all of which can usually be categorized under the headings of people, concepts or things.

Some popular sources include:

  • The introduction of new technologies
  • Scientific studies and breakthroughs
  • New knowledge put forward in the public domain or made available from research organizations, universities or provided by consultants / employees
innovation sources

(Photo Credit: rachel_thecat)


  • Market niches
  • Customer demands
  • Collaboration with customers, subject matter experts and other stakeholders. More and more people are getting involved in contributing to innovation processes. The more people that are engaged in innovation processes increases the likelihood for new opportunities to arise.
  • Competitor products or services
  • Rival innovations
  • Public availability of knowledge.
  • Regulations and standards
  • Environmental issues
  • Updated offerings from suppliers
  • Information and communication technologies – the information age in which we live in creates numerous opportunities to create new products and transform existing products and processes. More and more so the global population at large are contributing to major new innovations – see open market innovation for further details. 
  • Creative ideas - If you're interested in increasing your ability to produce creative ideas then please visit the creative techniques page which describes a number of techniques that are aimed at increasing your creative abilities.

Recent research suggests that customer demand, market niches and collaboration with customers are especially important sources and that the introduction of new technologies can often initiate the process. See here for lots more details about customer driven innovation. 

You may also want to read about the seven sources of innovation put forward by the famous management consultant and author Peter Drucker. 

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