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Innovation has been talked about in the business space for some time now. Innovation is the key competency for success in the global market. So before we take a look at Innovation, we need to appreciate the concept of creativity.
Creativity is derived from the word “Create.” Before creativity activates there is a sense of nothingness, and then there is an idea which is unique and never thought of but existing in the Universe in some form for sure. Creativity is thus the force that lies within us as an endowment to leave a legacy behind. It is the inherent nature of a human being of seeking an Identity and to be immortal. Creativity supports this self-concept.
Many ideas remain in the mind of a creative individual, but only some ideas get implemented into reality. This is a problem for sure which stems from the fear of uncertainty. Once a creative idea has taken shape in its nascent form the process of Innovation commences. Innovation is a process of improvement to make a product or a service more effective for stakeholders. This is an infinite, unending process that extends the life & effectiveness of a product or a service. It primarily creates value in some form.
Innovation can either be incremental or breakthrough. Incremental innovation is implemented by most organizations and is good. Breakthrough innovation is rare owing to the risk involved but essential. The key difference being, incremental innovation works on the same set of assumptions on which the product or service was designed. Breakthrough innovation smashes these assumptions and moves into an unknown and unchartered domain.
It is important to understand that ultimately Innovation is brought into the real world by people. It is imperative for organizations venturing into the space of world-class companies to nurture their creative talent. It is widely believed that all are not born creative; however, it is not true as it is our social conditioning that puts us into “boxed” thinking. It is important for people to collapse their rigid paradigm of what works and what does not and question all that works and that does not. This is when Innovation becomes a success. A diversity of experience is the key driver for Innovation. Expertise only compliments the execution of Innovation.
Teach your people the tools of Innovation. Nurture your present innovators and make the creative process a part of your organization’s culture. Innovation nurtures the spirit of individuals and makes the job more satisfying. These innovators with a creative culture of the organization can be a great combination to succeed in world-class scenarios. It is important to understand that customer focus and profit, with quality as a core value, are the ultimate focal points of innovation.
The area of caution in Innovation is that every Innovator is blinded by his/her innovation. Test for hypothesis before you invest time, money, and effort in the idea. Make Innovation a key competency in the organization, and surely you will be on the path of becoming a Unicorn Enterprise.