What is Innovation? Part II

I recently posed a quick question on a previous blog regarding innovation and I wanted to follow up on some of the feedback that I received before I proceed with blogs pertaining to other topics. Below I have listed a few of the definitions of innovation that I received from comments, in addition to, feedback from a post I made on Linked In.

“Innovation is something which is new or a known thing with a new application. Usually an innovation results in tangible and positive product useful for the living being. In some case, it can be a nontangible idea also.”

“Innovation = Invention + Commercialization;
Invention can be defined as matching a problem with a solution,
and Commercialization can be defined as “putting an invention into a wide-spread use.”

“Innovation is coming up with a new answer to a previously asked question, or coming up with the first answer to a previously unasked question.”

“Innovation is ;
Finding a new solution to a challenge. “

“Innovation is a commitment to the business process of finding better, cheaper, friendlier ways to create customer/client value. To work, it needs to be ingrained in culture of the organization. It is not a fleeting commitment, but a modus operandi. “

“By and by, I believe innovation cannot be defined in the present. It is only definable through experience and time. Through recollection and change. After all, no one knows if someone or something will change the world until they or it does so.”

We can all agree that innovation is an improvement to an idea, concept, process, or product resulting in either something entirely new or a distinct change. While I can not comment on or criticize organizational standards pertaining to innovation; I can however, discuss my personal view on innovation and some of the common themes in the marketplace.

I view innovation as being derived by two groups: stakeholders (customers, employees, and shareholders) and the market (competitors and suppliers). In order to define how to target those groups to cultivate ideas, leadership; regardless of their experience, must define what innovation means to them in order to foster what I believe to be a culture based on improvement. Conceptually, a culture based on improvement is similar to that implemented by Toyota through their “kaizen”(continuous improvement) processes to reduce “muda” (waste). Amongst many of the major consulting firms and think tanks, there is a general consensus that innovation must become more of an organizational commitment, versus the traditional approach, whereby innovation is something that you “do”. I think we have already seen glimpses of this transformation as organizations begin shifting attention away from products and services to generate processes and cultural components that will assist in developing ideas at various organizational levels. In a highly competitive environment, product innovation is critically important; however, operational efficiencies can also contribute to higher levels of ROIC (Return on Invested Capital). Conceptually this all sounds relatively straightforward, although implementing cultural transformation is something that is a lot easier said than done. For those who are interested in the topic of innovation feel free to watch the video below or visit the attached links.

How to Make it New: Fostering a Culture of Innovation in Turbulent Times (Deloitte LLC)
Building an Innovation Nation (Mckinsey)
Innovating to Win (BCG)

One Comment on “What is Innovation? Part II

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