What is Innovation – Simple / Complex to Understand
Innovation has many dimensions, making it a difficult and complex issue to define. A technologist is likely to have a different take, for example, than a social entrepreneur. Similarly, an enterprise that claims to create new technology would almost certainly have a different viewpoint compared to one that simply adopts existing technology.
Innovation – the action or process of creating new methods, ideas or products – is changing the way we do things.
For businesses, innovation might mean launching a new product or service; introducing a new technology or operational process; starting a new business model; or simply changing marketing, communication and advertising strategies.
When carried out effectively, innovation can be a sustainable way of raising productivity and increasing standard of living.
To understand the importance of innovation, think of our current world and where we’d be if the previous generations did not innovate.
Imagine being back in the 18th century: without new inventions, or the conversion of ideas into goods and services, we could still be living without electricity, piped water, and antibiotics.
Innovation doesn’t have to be a sledgehammer
Although seemingly divergent from the status quo – thus appearing disruptive to current/established norms – innovation can in fact be achieved through a series of small, incremental, steps.
It can be based heavily on computers, technology and science, or indeed on none of the aforementioned. And individual innovations need not always be immediately successful to have an impact.
Sometimes, trying things that do not work – learning what not to do – can be an important step towards getting things right in the long run.
Trying new things out, as well as testing and evaluating, can help to both create new markets and to change or improve existing markets.
At its core, innovation can sweep away pre-conceived notions and positively transform communities. That is why it is so important to understand and measure innovation.
Innovation – the key to maintaining relevance
Looking back, it’s easy to see the impact that innovation has had on our standard of living.
Now think of what we could potentially miss out on if we were to become complacent and lose that desire to innovate.
There is clear evidence that innovation has been more successful in certain business sectors and throughout certain periods of time/history.
It is fair to say that most people instinctively resist change—be it because they perceive change as being “too difficult”, because they lack confidence to take that leap, or because they believe that they lack the tools or expertise to harness changes effectively.
Much of what has become innovative has essentially derived from an attitude of openness towards external experiences. Collaborating with external expertise can be key to carrying out effective innovation.
When done right, innovation can bring with it substantial and long-lasting rewards.