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Some Definitions


Definitions of Innovation

  • Creating value with implemented new ideas.
  • Problem solving for complex problems.

Key Factors in Defining Innovation

  • Innovation is not about a single brilliant action. It is an on-going effort.
  • Innovation is only an enabler, just as accounting or marketing are. Innovation is not a goal or a value; it can only enable the implementation of your objectives.
  • Only people can innovate. Organizations, management, cultures, processes do not innovate but they can enable or stifle innovation.

Innovation and Innovative Thinking

  • Innovation drives growth by resolving complex problems that get in the way of success.
  • Innovation happens when individuals and small teams use innovative thinking, enabled by the organization.
  • Innovative thinking is combining existing and new knowledge to solve a real problem or opportunity within real boundaries.
  • The easiest way to improve white collar productivity, and the one with the most leverage, is to improve thinking skills. By improving how people think, you leverage their knowledge and everything they do.
  • Innovative thinking is NOT an art for the chosen few; it is a process that can be learned by anyone. Individuals can have different innovative thinking styles, from adaptive to revolutionary, but everyone can learn to be more innovative.
  • Innovative thinking is not a free-for-all, it is a rigorous process that uses creativity as one of its components. Innovative thinking is hard work.
  • The biggest obstacle to our individual innovation is "analytical thinking." School taught us analytical thinking that was perfect for the industrial economy but doesn't include the innovative thinking option needed today.

Innovation and the Innovative Organization

    • Organizations cannot innovate. They can only support individuals and teams who want to innovate and create positive change to grow and improve the organization.
    • An innovative organization innovates in everything it does, not just in R&D.
    • An organization supports systematic innovation when:
    • Employees understand where the organization is going and how it wants to get there (Purpose and Strategies)
    • The executive team is committed to innovation in actions, not only in words (Role-model)
    • The environment is supportive in terms of:
  • Trust
  • Leadership at all levels
  • Communication
  • Cross-functional teamwork
  • Risk-taking ability
  • Culture
  • Structure
    • Organizational practices do not get in the way of innovation. These include:
  • Structure
  • Job descriptions and performance objectives
  • Decision making processes
  • IT flexibility
  • Finance support for innovation projects
  • Employees have the right professional skills and are motivated to use them.
  • Mid-level managers are supportive and understand how to manage the innovative process with innovative people.

Service Innovation

  • Service innovation is the application of innovation in the service sector, in service offerings of manufacturers and in the service activities of every organization (HR, Finance, Sales, Marketing, IT, etc.)
  • Most organizations innovate in services but they don’t do it effectively or efficiently.
  • Service innovation is focused on the customer experience.
  • Service innovation demands an excellent understanding of customers’ expressed and non-expressed needs, flawless delivery from front-line people, support from technology, and alignment of all internal departments and processes to support front-line contact.
  • Innovative thinking is the foundation of service innovation.