How to make the innovation process more effective?

Credits: Pixabay

Nowadays Innovation has become a buzzword: indeed, companies are driven by the need for sustained growth that only new innovative products, services or more in general new solutions can guarantee.

The word Innovation is strictly linked with the word Change: in fact, no Innovation is possible without a Change.

In a previous post, we described “the importance of culture in Innovation”: people and organizations are creatures of habit, and changing habits is much harder than changing structures or systems.

Most change initiatives continue to focus almost exclusively on the operational and technical side and too often they ignore the human or behavioral side of change.

In this post, we are going to focus more on the meaning of Innovation, why it is difficult to generate and how to make the Innovation Process more effective.

What is Innovation?

According to Wikipedia, Innovation

“is often viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs […] Innovation is related to, but not the same as, invention, as innovation is more apt to involve the practical implementation of an invention to make a meaningful impact in the market or society, and not all innovations require an invention“.

Which means, Innovation is what allows people and society to evolve and grow.

It is important to highlight that it is not important that the new idea is revolutionary: what is important is that introduce an improvement, even small, on the existing product, process or service.

What is difficult about Innovation?

Innovation is about problem solving. Yes, solving problems is not an easy task. However, I wouldn’t say that this is the most difficult part of Innovation. Of course, it depends on the type of problem, but if we ever find a good solution, how to develop it? How to make it accepted by others? Most innovators think their job finish after they found a good idea, but this is often not enough.

“there is a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product” Steve Jobs

Once again, there is a lot of hard job to do after the idea has been generated, and a proper culture of innovation is essential to make people and society more prone to accept changes introduced by new solution.

Credits: Pixabay

How to make the innovation process more effective?

A common idea about Innovation is that it’s just the result of a thinking process, as if it comes out magically from someone mind after a brainstorming. Although this might be true in some limited cases, most of the times a good innovative solution is the result of:

  • Keep learning: new technologies and new solutions are evolving at a much greater pace than in the past, but the good thing is that, compared to the past, such information are most of the time accessible to anyone. Keep learning is a great way to generate new ideas;
  • Try and error: making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn… and therefore to innovate;
  • Follow a structured approach: in 2012, a survey conducted by the Product Development Management Association (PDMA) showed that companies developing new products following a structured approach had about 33% chance to be more successful.

Conclusion

The key message is: follow a structured approach, feel free to make mistakes and never stop learning!

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Nicola Accialini

Engineer, consultant, digital entrepreneur and traveller, not necessarily in this order | Italian, lived in Germany, now in Spain | www.accialiniconsulting.com