Global Ideas Bank was at the Skoll World Forum of Social Entrepreneurship the other week, under our alter ego. One of the themes was 'social innovation' which meant, in this context, discussing different routes to achieving social change (rather than just the route of the social entrepreneur). It was interesting stuff, with Geoff Mulgan of the Young Foundation giving his take on this, and then David Galenson, who I found pretty interesting.
Essentially, his research has shown him that there are two types of innovator: the conceptual, genius innovator (eg. Mozart) and the incremental, experiential innovator (eg. er....Clint Eastwood, Louise Bourgeois etc.). The Wikipedia link above has most of the detail, but it's an interesting reminder that innovation comes in different shapes and sizes, particularly as it tends to be viewed as conceptual most of the time, rather than incremental. Indeed, in some areas, it has almost come close to being viewed as novelty (see the initiative-itis of a lot of governments who are impatient and not prepared to incrementally tweak and refine).
There's also a neat article on Galenson in Wired, which puts him firmly in the 'experimental' camp....whether this idea merits two books, I can't say, but let me know if you've read either.