They did not use the Human-Centric Innovation (HCI) name, but Clayton Christensen and Anthony Ulwick were among the first to talk about this approach. In 2003, in his book called The Innovator’s Solution, Clayton outlines the HCI approach. Anthony Ulwick also describes a similar approach in an HBR article in 2002 and in his book called What Customers Want in 2005.
In the early 2000s, Anthony and Clayton presented an inspiring but a high-level picture, and others completed the missing details in the following years. In 2008, we learned from Tim Brown how to use Design Thinking approach to innovate in all areas of life. In 2010, Alex Osterwalder introduced useful tools for designing business models. In those years, the software world also began to contemplate the application of lean philosophy in environments with high uncertainty, and the winds of agility started to blow in the early 2000s. In 2010, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber introduced a method called Scrum for creating more value under uncertainty. Since innovation is also a high uncertainty endeavor, agile methods emerged as a factor that could enhance the effectiveness of innovation work. In 2011, Eric Ries published a book explaining how to apply lean principles in the startup ecosystem. He introduced the concept of Lean Startup to our vocabulary.
Clayton further developed the concept of Creative Destruction, previously coined by Joseph Schumpeter, illustrating how some innovations radically transform an industry and become disruptive innovations. In 2004, Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne began discussing the Blue Ocean Strategy concept, which is about creating new markets away from competition. The concepts of Disruptive Strategy and Blue Ocean Strategy, combined with Michael Porter’s concept of Competitive Strategy, constituted a comprehensive framework for innovation strategy.
In 2016, Clayton Christensen published Competing Against Luck, explaining the criticality of the Jobs-to-be-Done approach and how it saves innovation business from becoming a matter of chance. Anthony Ulwick also presented his perspective on this approach in his book called Jobs-To-Be-Done in 2016, providing a detailed recipe for its application. Later, some other works that combine all these recipes in different ways, such as The Innovator’s Method, also came out…
There are many more, but I have only mentioned the works, which are recognized by many experts in this field as milestones. When you look at all this rich tapestry of thought leadership, research, and practical application from the perspective of developing new solutions based on the desired outcomes of the target audience as described by Clayton or Anthony, you will see that they complement each other. Some of them aim to clarify the outlines of the innovation domain, while others focus on the details of different subdomains. When they all come together, a beautiful system for innovation emerges.