What is Innovation?

What is Innovation?
“Innovation is trying to figure out a way to do something better than it has ever been done before.”

As Thomas Edison said; “There is a way to do it better – find it”

Or from the dictionary;
n. The process of improving, adapting or developing
a product, system or service to deliver better results
and create value for people.

Innovation applies to everything we do, whether that is related to our business life or our life outside work. We are continually confronted with situations that require a decision to be made. Innovation provides a process for decision making. Innovation is not a product or a service, it provides a solution. In looking at a solution, simple is better and “elegant” is best. Innovation can lead to an elegant solution. Innovation is a state of mind and a process not the “end game”.

There are three simple lessons that apply to Innovation (and its use);

1. It is about elegance and achieving a better solution. It is not a product or a service. Elegance can be desribed as simplicity, clarity, easy to understand, easy to use, cost-effectiveness etc but probably is a combination of all of the above.

2. Define Innovation for Everyone. A simple definition is important, so that everyone (involved) understands what the “main game” is.
"Innovation is solving an important issue with a 'better solution' and making sure that the 'better solution' is put in place and is managed and maintained."
Innovation is not a "short term fix" to an inconsequential problem.

3. Avoid the obvious Pitfalls (Temptations). Avoid

a. The BIG bang approach – often costly, high risk and overkill
b. The “Bells & Whistles” approach – more than is required to solve the problem at hand
c. Brainstorming – too many thoughts and too much diversity leads to lack of focus and generally, not specific solutions – not elegant!
One of the key Principles of Innovation is "KISS" ("Keep It Simple").
Elegant solutions are simple.

There are also well accepted Principles of Innovation which need to be follow for success.

Building an Innovation Culture
Some ideas on how to promote and imbed innovation in an organisation are included in this post (as well as a link to a full Cambridge University presentation Details here
Building an Innovation Culture summary

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