(answer to the question "What are the essential elements of the innovation process?" - the creative and synthetizing part)
From experience (as a strategist as well as as an author), I know it takes at least two sets of qualities : at the concept / idea level, and at the communication level. I've always enjoyed the conceptual part, and I have a lot of fun writing. Being an author is a permanent state and writing just an action, but people judge you by your output.
Ideally, there should be a visual / mental "click" from your audience / readers, but it is not always easy to translate your great vision the most efficient way. Pedagogy / communicability is key : your vision should be simple to understand and explain. Some doors can remain open if needed (you cannot embrace every dimensions, solve all questions), but everyone should be able to see what's at stake, share a common ground with all others. Besides, there is certainly no such thing as a "one size fits all" process for innovation, nor a universal way of synthetizing.
Actually, each consulting firm has a method, some are relevant in certain contexts, counterproductive in others. For example, the BCG can be help you bulldoze small bumps on the road and have a big corporation embrace a clear strategy, but when it comes to innovation, you want to protect diversity and be careful not to destroy valuable germs. The devil is in the details but a great value lies in theses details too.
At the end of the day, it is all about making a vision of a piece of knowledge useful, more valuable than it is by itself.