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Definition of innovation

The ability to innovate has become critical for organisations in a changing environment. However, the problem for many organisations is engaging people in an innovation process that produces results. Many employees feel intimidated by the idea of innovation and don’t feel that they have permission to participate. Many leaders don’t know how to foster an innovation culture. In this topic we will explore what innovation means in organisations, what an Innovation Mindset is and how it can help your organisation.

Definition of innovation

Innovation is a new idea or new use of an old idea that adds value when implemented.  An idea adapted from another organisation which is new to your organisation can be considered an innovation.

The range of change

A focus on innovation means that you can solve problems in new ways, rather than using existing solutions. While continuous improvement is very important, it can limit your options for change. Your organisation should be aiming for improvement, innovation, and transformation. These are the defining characteristics of the main types of change

  • An improvement is reactive, it uses existing methods and materials, and creates a known solution.
  • An innovation is proactive, it uses new methods, materials and/or products, and creates a solution new to your entity.
  • A transformation is disruptive, it cancels existing processes and creates a whole new paradigm.

For example, let’s look at tents:

Improvement in tents

Improved pins.
Improved tents.
Larger and smaller tents.

Innovation in tents

Use of canvas to make umbrellas, awnings—a new product line using the same technology and processes.

Transformation in tents

Synthetic tents—new technology, new processes.
A new product.

Types of innovation

Innovation is not just about technology and products. Much value comes from innovating the customer experience, changing work processes, and updating the business model. Every part of your organisation can benefit from change and innovation.

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