Well, not really. The science of innovation may some day catch up to and demystify the art of innovation (and take all the joy, suspense, and fun out of it … like in-vitro fertilization?!) – but until then, here is my humble pictorial offering … !
This diagram, I think, sums it up. [ I guess I should quickly add "for the most part" - in keeping with the nature of innovation itself ... about remaining open / open-ended vs. thinking you have the definitive, final, "best" answer or solution to something! ]
From my experience, I think it is about keeping our eyes (and ears – er… make that all our senses – 5 and beyond!) open; taking the effort to look at things from various angles; looking for connections, similarities, differences; identifying and assimilating relevant information on the domain and related domains; letting it all simmer in your mind – giving yourself the time and mental energy / bandwidth for that; and then waiting / hoping for the “Aha moment” for insights to appear or condense out of that rich & fecund fog!
A few things that may make it a bit more challenging -
If you are reading and watching what everyone else is – be it on the old “idiot box” from your couch (that started with a few channels and then became numerous – but not necessarily varied!), or the new “idiot box” from your desk (started with nearly unlimited sources but evolving into a few “channels”), or the interestingly named “smart box” er… smart phone – in a semi-somnolent state, without, at least, asking questions or looking at what may be behind and beyond the box – then it may be, not impossible, but a bigger miracle for you … since any innovative insight is a small miracle in a way!
Also, if you have signed up on the corporate hamster wheel with a tightly regimented schedule, and relish your “fast-paced” life, and you’re getting only ~5 hours of sleep (telling yourself that your body has adjusted to it … your body may have, but perception, acuity, appreciation and innovation come from your mind!) … then again, it may be an even bigger miracle than for the I-Box or I-Phone (I’m sorry, that should be S-Phone I guess!) aficionado above.
Joking aside …
If you have always valued curiosity, playfulness, creativity, going against the grain (or at least recognizing the grain that we tend to follow, its pros and cons), honesty and courage (to recognize a good idea when it is not yours and recognizing the weakness / flaw when it IS yours!) – while at the same time having a reasonable / justifiable amount of confidence in your own abilities / ideas / hunches – then you are probably in a better position than a room full of talking heads / experts on innovation. [Me? I am just an explorer, not an expert - self-proclaimed (the rage these days) or otherwise (as in blessed by the expert proclaiming/"certifying" bodies ... who have often assumed the role themselves (esp. in the business arena )!]
So, here again, is the final, authoritative, absolutely incontrovertible (or the world might / will end!) visual masterpiece depicting the incandescent essence of the art of innovation …
Breathe it in … and go forth and innovate … starting with your own life!