The Meaning of Innovation – What Does It Mean to You?

I start writing by reaching for my Oxford English Dictionary which tells me that ‘innovate’ is a verb meaning to “bring in new methods, ideas etc.” On the other hand Wikipedia tells me “that innovation generally signifies a substantial change compared to… incremental changes.”

I am happy with both of these definitions, but I do wonder what is meant by incremental. When does incremental become substantial? I don’t want to get too hung up over these differences, but when we are told that we need to be more innovative in order to survive today’s economic climates, these things could be important.

But to really understand what innovation means there are 4 things that I want to share with you:

What is innovative in one industry may be old hat in another industry. For example, the Dyson Dual Cyclone technology was an idea which was taken from spray booth industry for capturing and filtering spray paint and reapplied to the vacuum cleaner market. This was literally revolutionary and due to the transfer of the technology into user benefits it resulted in a significant slice of the vacuum cleaner market being won by Dyson.

What is an innovative step for one company may be considered an incremental step by another company, even in the same market. This means that some companies are able to manage the risk associated with change much more How To Start A Successful Business Online comfortably that others. This may be just because of the culture in the organisation or because of the experience and level of expertise of the employees and their ability to work together to overcome challenges.

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Innovation can be applied to any number of departments in a typical manufacturing company. Normally we would think of innovation in the design of the products being produced, or in the methods of manufacture. But it could equally apply to all departments. Think about what innovation means to Accounts, or the Technical Support Team.

There is no point in applying innovative ideas and processes if there is no benefit for those involved, either as Dealing In Goods And Services users, customers or clients. Like technology, innovation for its own sake does not sell and becomes very costly.

So how innovative is your business and how does this fit in with your meaning of innovation? As I have said before, the risks associated with taking too great an innovative step in one go are great, but perhaps the greater risk is not taking an innovative step at all.

Remember, innovation is what you make of it. Stretch yourselves, but know your limits!

Enjoy the opportunity.