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The Innovation Dipole


Innovation Dipole is referring to the duality of a creative mind set on one side of a dipole and a business mind set on the other. This dipole has to be in complementary balance and in resonance (to use an antenna engineering term), to reach the desired result which is, to stimulate innovation and hence drive entrepreneurship (“Innovate”).


The dipole concept, in more specific terms supports the notion that behind innovation are two key human drivers leading to success of business venture: the idea promoter (or entrepreneur) and the business developer.


The entrepreneur is the creative mind or the person that has the new idea, the innovative vision and wishes to attempt a startup of a business venture around his/her idea. The entrepreneur is often an engineer or a researcher while other times it is just a creative or an inventive mind or even an ex end-user that has foreseen the need and envisioned a unique solution. Sometimes it is both end-user and engineer.


The business developer is a person that has a more business oriented mind set, which is primarily in marketing and communication. He/she has business studies, an MBA most probably and typically a long résumé in sales and international marketing. This person has experience on how to position a product or service in the international markets, knows how to reach clients, and knows how to manage a company. It’s paramount for his or her effectiveness, to have an entrepreneur and an engineering activity background and to have had failures and successes in order for a new enterprise to capitalize on this experience.


These two actors (entrepreneur and business developer) are the main enablers of every business venture that wants to win the market and finally innovate. In short, they constitute the “Innovation Dipole”.


When the two poles of the Innovation Dipole exist in one person, then we have a natural innovator or a serial entrepreneur.


There are other factors that prescribe the possible success or failure of a business venture. Innovation drivers require specific technical or other similar skills, like management, consulting and mentoring. The reality is that these skills can either be hired or offered for free. What cannot be bought is a good and profitable idea, entrepreneurial vision, drive and passion, perception of markets and core talent.


Innovation Dipole is the soul of Innovation.


The evidence


Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard was the Innovation Dipole, which sparked Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial spirit back in 1938.


Fred Terman was the professor at Stanford that first realized the importance of entrepreneurship as its being stated in the book of Steve Blank “THE SECRET HISTORY OF SILICON VALLEY”. As also is being stated in the book, the US State funding was extremely critical at that time, since US military was the only client that financed almost everything.

Both engineers, but as it’s evidenced below, Bill was the engineering brain and Dave was the marketing and business brain of the HP duo. Bill made the invention and Dave marketed it.

The following text is a collage of the text found in the following web pages from the biography of the duo and the HP history.

“That first product was of Bill Hewletts' design. He had first experimented with the idea back in college in Professor Fred Termans lab. What he invented was the very first cheap way of "generating high quality audio frequencies needed in communications, geophysics, medicine and defense work ". It was known as the audio oscillator. Bill took this new invention (Bill Hewlett Patent 2,268,872) to a Radio Engineers conference there he got an excellent response. After that he and David decided to build the oscillator commercially."


"David Packard thought up the name "HP Model 200A" to make the company appear more established."


"They took photographs of the machine and David made 25 copies a two page brochure. This brochure was given to a list of prospective buyers that Professor Terman had supplied them with. The oscillator was a huge success."


Later, "Dave practices a management technique — eventually dubbed "management by walking around" — which is marked by personal involvement, good listening skills and the recognition that "everyone in an organization wants to do a good job." As managers, Bill and Dave run the company according to the principle later called management by objective.”