2020 IEKTopics|Creativity Inspired by All Aspects of Life, Innovation Stimulated by Diverse Thinking

Exploring Resilient Opportunities in Innovation from Five Major Cross-domain Innovation Categories

The goal of innovation is to generate new creative ideas and to realize them. Innovation provides meaningful value to the people and society, and brings change and to improve overall humanity.

Cross-domain innovation creates value via cross-domain approaches. In the book The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation, the author distinguished the differences between directional innovation and cross-domain innovation. Directional innovation focuses on enhancing performance. This includes doing research to improve production processes, refine operation procedures, and increase precision. Directional innovators are constantly enhancing their professional knowledge and skills in a specific domain, and continuously implementing improvements and adjustments in said domain to work towards a predictable goal. Cross-domain innovation, on the other hand, is not limited to the specific and in-depth knowledge of one domain, but goes beyond existing domains and creates a brand new fields. Cross-domain innovators combine knowledge from different domains to create value, and will often open up new domains. The book pointed out that cross-domain innovations have the following characteristics: They go beyond existing mindset, open up entirely new fields and generate followers (which means the innovators can become leaders). They are the source for directional innovations in the future and could make an unprecedented impact on the world.

This issue explores the resilient opportunities in cross-domain innovation through five cross-domain innovation categories and related case studies. The five major cross-domain innovation categories are: Cross-region, Cross-application, Cross-technology, Cross-generation, and Cross-culture. Articles in this issue are the lessons learned by exploring the features of cross-domain innovation through concrete innovation examples in the case studies, observing cross-domain innovation key players who can realize the innovation, and uncovering the value and resilient opportunities created via cross-domain innovation.


Lesson 1: Approaches that Facilitate Cross-domain Innovation and Diverse Innovation Models

The expectation of cross-domain innovation is to generate new innovative experiences and values through the convergence and exchange of experience and knowledge from different domains. From the case studies in the five cross-domain innovation categories, we discovered two major approaches for cross-domain innovation, and the diversity of cross-domain innovation, such as creating new products, services, and business models (refer to the following form).


Lesson 2: Diverse Resilient Opportunities Generated by Cross-domain Innovation

The cross-domain innovation case studies provide different value creation and resilience examples. The following are the lessons we learned from the diverse resilient experiences in the cross-domain innovation cases.


Cultivating Key Players for Cross-domain Innovation

Cross-domain innovation has to go beyond the limitations of directional innovation. It must expand its scope to include different knowledge domains instead of focusing on one specific field of study. Cross-domain innovators should pursue co-created values by different domains to pioneer new environments and fields. To cultivate cross-domain innovation key players that are human-centric, we can start with igniting cross-domain innovation motives among Innovation Scouts, stimulating innovation solutions among Innovation Facilitators, supporting cross-domain Determined Experimenters, and strengthening the innovation durability of Resource Initiators.


This Is the Key Moment for Innovation

In 2016, the International Labor Organization (ILO) released the framework on how technology would affect future jobs. The framework pointed out that after a period of process innovations and productivity growth, concentration of wealth increasing, income gaps widening, and unemployment growth seemingly being the new norm in advanced countries. And this can hinder further industrial growth. Now is the time to employ new mindsets, tools, and policies to bring more employment opportunities; and change the industry structure via new product developments and the emergence of new markets and industries. However, it should be noted that changes in this phase cannot be led by the market - it has to be a socio-political choice. The government, enterprises, employers, and society as a whole must work together to develop a new consensus and goals to move toward this new lifestyle.

The rapid development of technology is gradually changing our production and work models, and the way we live our lives. In addition to that, the US-China trade and technology wars and the COVID-19 pandemic have sped up global industry chain reorganization processes. This is the immediate threat we need to address right now. Just as ILO’s 2016 framework points out, we are at the turning point of whether industries and jobs will be destroyed or transformed, and this is a good opportunity for us to think about the future industry model with an innovative mindset.

The manufacturing mindset has long been the norm in Taiwan’s industries, and striving to increase production capacity has been the main innovation approach for certain domains to significantly increase their value. The initiative of conducting cross-domain innovation from a human-centric perspective aims to stimulate Taiwan’s diverse innovation potential from a different viewpoint and mindset, create more outlets for innovation, and open up a new diversified path of innovation for Taiwan.

Exploring Resilient Opportunities in Innovation from Five Major Cross-domain Innovation Categories