The Long Nose of Innovation

The Idea.org blog explaining the work of Bill Buxton.

Innovation takes years, if not decades. An essay by Bill Buxton, principal scientist at Microsoft Research, introduced the idea of the The Long Nose of Innovation.” In his Jan 2008 Business Week article, he draws parallels to the long tail’ of products. This has applications to all kinds of planning.

This is what the long nose looks like as a graph (it’s a nose pointing to the left):

Innovation is not about alchemy

Buxton emphasizes that innovation is not about invention.” He says:

An idea may well start with an invention, but the bulk of the work and creativity is in that idea’s augmentation and refinement. The newer the idea, the coarser the granularity of most analysis, and the more likely people are to say, oh, that’s just like X” or that’s been done before,” without any appreciation for how much work and innovation is involved in taking an idea from concept to wide practice.


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