Innovation is vital to the success of any life & business. But before you can apply it to your own life or business organization, you need to understand what it is, why it is important, and how it applies to different areas.
Tackling the Basics
The word “innovation” today appears everywhere – on company websites, in advertisements for everything from hair spray to health care, on the lips of politicians, and in news features. However, while the word itself is popular, the concept of innovation remains poorly defined.
The word “innovation” comes from the Latin words, in and novare, meaning “to make something new, to change.” In principle, that’s something anyone can do – imagination and creativity come as standard equipment for human beings. And it’s something we’ve been doing since the earliest days when our ancestors lived in caves – the reason that we don’t still live there is because of innovation. Working out better ways of hunting, mastering fire and tool-making, learning about agriculture, construction, transportation – quite simply, the history of civilization is about innovation.
Quick Tips: Looking At All Areas In Life
Human history shows that any area of life can benefit from innovation. Think about ways of improving even the most well-established systems in your life & business organization.
Making Innovation Practical
There’s still plenty of room for ideas to improve the world we live in. And we are still really good at coming up with them. But innovation isn’t just about bright ideas; it’s also about putting those ideas into practice. No matter how good the idea, it will not benefit your organization if it cannot be transformed into a practical change. A working definition of innovation would be innovation = ideas + implementation.
Understanding the Issues
Thinking about managing innovation raises three key issues. First, why should we innovate? Innovation always involves risks, and the rewards are not always obvious. Second, what can we change? You need to understand the options for innovation before you can make decisions on where to focus your efforts. And finally, how can we make it happen?
The Innovation Process
Ideas + Implementation = Innovation
The starting point of innovation is an idea or improving an aspect of your operations. Your ideas must become a practical reality before it can benefit your organization. Successful innovation takes place only when both of these elements are achieved. Read this great journal article of Implementation: There’s More To Innovation Than Great Ideas.
Quick Tips: Keep An Open Mind
Consider all ideas, no matter how strange, in their initial stages. Something that appears totally impractical at first may lead to useful thinking about other, more workable solutions.
Understanding the Benefits
In Charles Darwin’s famous theory of evolution, survival depends on an ability to change. Those species do not accept and change to cope with an altering environment simply die out. The same can be said to be true of the business organization as well. The benefits of innovation include:
- The Novelty in Process: A faster, cheaper, or more efficient production gives you an instant advantage.
- Right Timing: Getting into a market early establishes your brand before the competition has time to develop.
- Added Complexity: Offering something too complex for others to imitate places your product at a premium.
- New Competitive Factors: Changing the base of your competition (from price to quality) can undermine your rivals.
- Protecting Intellectual Property: New trademarks and patents generate revenues through fees for their use.
- Product or Service Novelty: Offering a product no one else has access to guarantees you will have no competition.
- Rewriting the Rules: Offering people something absolutely novel can create an entirely new market.
Innovation is essential to survival, and also in development and profit. If you do not change what you create and offer the world, you run a risk of being pushed aside by the organization that does. This survival idea may be obvious in a competitive business world – but it is just as important in life & workplace. There are many ways in which innovation can improve an organization’s revenues and customer base, and defend against competitors. These range from making existing processes more efficient. In order to produce something before competitors can imitate it, to completely rewrite the rules of competition in your market.