Earlier this month, I posted Peter Drucker's five principles of innovation. In addition to these principles, he identified seven sources for innovative opportunities to apply them.
• The Unexpected - An unexpected success, an unexpected failure or an unexpected outside event can be a symptom of a unique opportunity.
• The Incongruity - A discrepancy between reality and what everyone assumes it to be, or between what is and what ought to be, can create an innovative opportunity.
• Innovation based on process need - When a weak link is evident in a particular process, but people work around it instead of doing something about it, an opportunity is present to the person or company willing to supply the "missing link".
• Changes in industry or market structure - The opportunity for an innovative product, service or business approach occurs when the underlying foundation of the industry or market shifts.
• Demographics - Changes in the population's size, age structure, composition, employment, level of education and income can create innovative opportunities.
• Changes in perception, mood and meaning - Innovative opportunities can develop when a society's general assumptions, attitudes and beliefs change.
• New Knowledge - Advances in scientific and nonscientific knowledge can create new products and new markets.
Source: Drucker, Peter F. Innovation and Entrepreneurship