Innovation Meaning, Importance, and Facts

Innovation was defined as doing the same things you do but differently. Why is it important to look for other ways to do things if the original ways are working? and why are all big companies prioritizing innovation? The answer is simple… Growth!
We live in a digital era with rapid technology change, where innovation has become the only way for growth, and more critically the only way to stay in the game.
In an interview with John Chamber, Cisco Chairman he stated that all businesses need to figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies or else, he clarifies, 40% of them will die within the next 10 years.

In an era of accelerated technological progress and rapid change in the market dynamics, even big companies who are leaders in their own markets have to be fast responsive to such changes. Some of them have already made minor changes to adapt to the market requirements and some even made changes to their vision and the products they sell.
About the importance of innovation to customers, according to a study from lab42, 84% of customers say that it is very important that the company they buy from is innovative.

Innovation Programs Different Approaches

One way to choose the approach of your innovation program is to base it on the nature of the problem your organization is trying to solve. Sometimes your organization is facing a challenge that is easy to well defined. Some other times it is addressing a problem that is mostly an implication of another problem, hence the root problem is not very well defined or not easily identified. Those challenges could be related to the market, or target audience changing behavior or facing an alternative product/ service.
Therefore, you need to find out more about your problem and how well defined it is. Let’s try to figure that out in the coming part.

– Defined Problem

1. If your problem is well defined, however, the expertise of the needed solution is not, then you need breakthrough innovation. And whenever the field of solving the problem isn’t necessarily related to the problem, you can use open innovation to widen the spectrum of solutions you receive for the problem you are solving.

2. If the problem is defined, and it’s within your discipline or area of expertise, you are dealing with the most common and sustainable type of innovation, the innovation that should be continuous. This is the case where most companies have established R&D departments to keep improving what they do and how they do it. However, it is worth mentioning that collaborative models outpaced traditional R&D, again based on PWC’s re-inventing innovation publication, companies embrace open innovation by 61%, design thinking by 59%, and co-creating with customers, partners, and suppliers by 55%. Then comes traditional R&D by 34%.

– Undefined Problem

3. If you need to adapt your business model to market changes, or an anticipated change in the market. Disruptive innovation is what you are after here since the problem clearly lies within your field of expertise or market niche, despite not being very well defined. Your tool of choice could be an innovation lab where you engage your employees for creative collaboration to work on the problem on a long-term basis.

4. When there is no certain problem to be solved nor a certain field to focus on, You should have the basic and continuous research efforts done in the background. R&D which is usually done in collaboration with universities and research centers.

So as to avoid confusion or getting overwhelmed by all potential innovation activities -and before we conclude- we will give you some options that fit most organizational innovation needs to experiment and get started with. Then based on the outcomes you can allocate more budget to them or try another method.

Innovation Methods

– Open Innovation challenge
– Startup Competitions
– Internal Competitions

– Open Innovation Challenges

Organizing an open innovation program, with the right outreach and Marketing activities, you should be able to reach innovators from several disciplines. You can also require multi-disciplinary teams to work on solving your challenge. But whether it is open for individuals, multi-disciplinary teams or both, you will get to access complex solutions that are only possible with this unique type of innovation activity.

In open innovation you can combine internal resources with external collaborators, to get the below benefits:
1. Save time and reduce costs.
2. Collect ideas, patents, new technologies, and products.
3. Boost your brand, and increase your market presence.
4. Product visibility.

– Startup Competitions

There are many entrepreneurs out there with great ideas but a lack of resources. Your organization could be just the right fit for their solutions and ideas, their solutions and ideas could be just what you are looking for. This is exactly the definition of a good partnership. When you join forces with entrepreneurs you access ready-to-implement or partially implemented ideas to just fund or incubate the execution.

– Internal Competitions

Closed innovation is mostly faster to launch, and it gives you more focus on the problem as well as possible solutions. However, you could get surprised by the innovation skills that could be hiding within your teams and behind all the daily work and routine. This is a chance to grow an innovation culture and encourage ideas and ownership for your employees.
Sometimes it will require regular innovation workshops or competitions to create the innovation culture within your organization but it will totally pay-off.

In conclusion, innovation has become an integral part of company growth, and even survival. Fortunately, innovation works in many directions, you can start from the inside of your company or the public. Whatever way you choose to go, you need to be constantly innovating and experimenting. One way to start is to reach out to solutions that make managing innovation programs simpler and easier for you.
Feel free to contact us to schedule a demo to talk more about your innovation needs and what we have to offer to solve them!