What is an Innovation?

July 25, 2016
What is an Innovation

Defining “Innovation” is similar to defining “pornography” – as Justice Potter Stewart said of the latter – we know it when we see it.

But what exactly constitutes something really innovative in your company?

In large part this depends on the newness of the idea to your business; the newer it is, the more difficult it is to execute.

Innovations, unlike established products, services, processes and business models, suggest a degree of uncertainty and the more radical they are from what already exists, the more uncertain the outcome. Consider two types of uncertainty and related outcomes:

  • The first is market uncertainty: will the customer or buyer actually want and buy the innovation?
  • The second is technological or practical uncertainty: will the innovation perform the way you think it will, be it a service or product innovation?
  • And the more uncertainty involved in implementing the innovative project in your company, the more organizational change is required: changes in your structure, systems, delivery, skill sets, operations and even your culture.

    So, remember, truly radical innovations require careful planning around their implementation.

What exactly constitutes something really innovative in your company?

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