Innovation in business contexts is ultimately about the adoption of an invention. A lot of technology driven innovations fail because they never meet a social need. As Bruce Nussbaum said in his article in Business Week: “Innovation is about social applications of inventions, not about the inventions themselves.” During the fifth EuroIA conference in Copenhagen James Kalbach gave a very interesting presentation on ‘Human Factors in innovation”. In his talk, he convincingly argues that the adoption of an invention is related to a large number of ‘human factors’.
So how can you ensure that your new idea is taken up by the public? The answer is actually straightforward: by tying innovation to human behavior. This is done by studying how users currently use the products and services. From this, you can derive insights how to make new products and services, or improve the existing one.
If you find the presentation of James Kalbach interesting, you might also want to look at what Jared Spool has to say on this topic. Or listen to Richard Branson in this video on innovation: "it doesn’t cost anything to listen”.