In our forthcoming book, Conquering Innovation Fatigue by Jeffrey Dean Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins, and Mukund Karanjikar, we introduce a new paradigm for guiding innovation efforts. It's based on insights from the French horn I've picked up from my son, Daniel, who is a highly skilled hornist. Turn the funnel upside down and consider the tail end of the funnel as the mouthpiece to a French horn. Couple that with some of the interesting physics and history behind the French horn, and mix in my experience in facing the problems of innovating under the funnel model, and the result is something I think will be useful for a number of industries.
I'll be giving a presentation on a portion of this concept at the upcoming CoDev 2009 conference in Scottsdale, Arizona next week (Jan. 26-28). One aspect of this paradigm is that corporations can do much more to tune their innovation efforts to the market and their business plans. By using the right feedback loops and tuning systems, innovation can be much more productive than we have in the funnel model. Using "the Horn of Innovation™" as a paradigm, corporate innovation can be "Just In Tune" (i.e., almost exclusively in tune with corporate and marketplace needs). I'll have more to say about "Just In-Tune Innovation™" in the future.