And third, your end-users are already familiar with it. Yes, they'll have to learn whatever innovation toolkit you decide to provide, but it will be layered on top of an existing base of knowledge. They won't be starting from scratch.
Every so often, someone writes another instance of the tired old article about how PCs are so hard to use, and isn't it wonderful how much easier Steve Jobs has made it all with the iPad?
The problem with this frequently published article is that it isn't -- what's the word I'm looking for? -- true. For the most part, if you want to do something on an iPad, you'll go through a more-or-less equivalent set of steps as you would on a PC.
What makes PCs harder to use is that Microsoft gives end-users much more credit than Apple does. PCs let you do a lot more than iPads, which means there are more capabilities available to you, which means you have to sort through more menus, buttons, and so on to find the one you're looking for. PCs are harder to use because all the features you don't want right now make the feature you do want right now harder to find.
A simple example: In Microsoft Word, you can define the spacing between paragraphs. I generally set three points before and three points after, which translates to a half-line of inter-paragraph separation. In order to do this, I have to know where to find the feature. Pages on the iPad is a lot simpler to use because I can't do this at all; the only way to add space between paragraphs is to hit the Return key twice.
This feature, and its absence on the iPad, isn't very important to most people, nor is the ability to define styles, insert cross-references, or any of hundreds of other things Word does that Pages doesn't do. If you're among those who has to create complex proposals or reports, though, these features are important.
Which brings us to what's particularly sad about the end-user innovation situation: Until the iPad resurrected the subject, most IT organizations have actively discouraged it. It goes beyond locking down the devices so that end-users can't install software they might find helpful in their day-to-day work or might increase efficiency in their departments.
Here's the question: How many IT shops actively encourage end-users to write VBA code? The answer: Very few. Most consider the result to be an undocumented, poorly structured, hard-to-maintain headache.
Here's what they could be thinking: Someone else has already done almost everything for us. Now, instead of a bunch of business analysis and specification writing, all we have to do is take something that already works exactly as it's supposed to and rewrite it so that it's built well, too.
That's what IT would be thinking if it wanted to encourage end-user innovation, with or without any iPads to muddy the waters.
This story, "Why PCs trump iPads for innovation," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bob Lewis's Advice Line blog on InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.