Innovation has become the buzz word for companies and government.
We’re all told that companies need to innovate in this ever changing world or risk perishing and we’ve seen it happen with the auto industry in Australia, book shops which are becoming scarcer than hens teeth and video shops, never mind the encyclopaedia door-to-door salesman and Australia Post…
So what is Innovation and what do you need to do it? Do you need to be a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg? The answer is no!
Innovation can be disruptive or incremental.
Disruptive as the word implies changes the status quo of how things are done with something brand new. Take the iPad for example. We now use it to read newspapers and books, send messages, check the weather, book a holiday. As children when we did an assignment we’d trek off to the library and look up books. Now when my daughter asks a question I don’t know the answer, I tell her to google it. Instead of a Walkman we now have an iPod.
While this type of innovation gets the most amount of air time in the media and people across the world aim to build the next Facebook, disruptive innovation only makes up approx. 10% of all innovation for the most successful US publically traded businesses in the industrial, technology and consumer-goods sectors1.
Incremental innovation is achieved in organisations everyday by those who improve internal or external processes to be quicker, cheaper, better or provide new features on existing products or services (for example each new iteration of your mobile phone). Anyone in an organisation no matter what their position or education/qualification can identify issues internally or from customers and suggest solutions to improve. What matters is how organisations manage this feedback and support and encourages it as to whether they are innovative.
Incremental innovation is extremely important because it improves productivity and efficiency and is easier to apply as step by step change in organisations than a ‘crazy’ risky new idea that could change the world or flop spectacularly.
Simple examples of incremental innovation using known technology to improve their organisation include government agencies introducing online forms and online payments, companies digitising their quotation system, manufacturers increasing their use of automation or using 3D printing for prototyping designs.
Anyone can innovate!
Start innovating today and improving your business! List all of the road blocks that prevent you from working efficiently and think of how you can remove them… or look at your products/services and ask your customers if it meets their needs or how could they do it better.