Innovation is a very popular term – everyone wants it, needs it, believes in it. But what exactly are innovations and how are they created?

A Definition of Innovation

The shortest and clearest definition of innovation is as follows:

“Innovations are qualitatively different products or services that have established themselves on the market.”

What is striking about this definition is the absence of the word “new”, because innovation is not just about something being new, but about something being different. Otherness is the essence of innovation.

Marketability is the second defining characteristic of innovations. As long as a product or a service has not been successful on the market, it is not considered an innovation. After all, otherwise even a cup with holes in the bottom could be considered an “innovation”.

How do Innovations arise?

Model 1: Market-Pull/Technology-Push

This model locates the origins of innovations in the simple duality of market and technology.

It states that innovations are created either by demand from the market, so-called Market-Pull, or by new technologies that enable novel products and services, so-called Technology-Push.

For Market-Pull, those companies that first recognize the market’s needs, its “pull,  will strive to develop a technology to meet it.

The Technology-Push creates enables products and services that can better meet existing needs and sometimes even new needs that are enabled by the new technology.

Model 2: The 7 Sources of Innovation

This more comprehensive model for the creation of innovations comes from the groundbreaking book “Principles of Entrepreneurship And Innovation” by Peter F. Drucker. In 1985, he defined seven sources of innovation that are still used by many practitioners today.

Be it a spark of inspiration or unexpected world-changing events, such as the global corona crisis in 2020, it is clear that innovation is driven by changes. Companies that are agile and resilient will be better able to respond to them.

Understanding these sources of innovation provides a general compass that can guide innovation managers in their work. In practice, however, this knowledge must be translated into meaningful action.

How can I establish Innovation in my Company?

In order to innovate successfully, you have to set innovation goals as part of an innovation strategy and fill them with life by establishing an innovation management system, i.e. executing the innovation strategy.

Devise an innovation strategy

  • The starting point of an innovation strategy are the innovation gaps and strategic innovation areas of the company, which have to be identified.
  • Based on this, the innovation strategy defines work streams, innovation goals, budgets and responsibilities.

Establish innovation management

  • In order to execute this strategy, an innovation management must be established.
  • With the right approach, an innovation management practice & team can be up and running within 100 days.

Most importantly, however, a company must be aware that innovation is an agile and iterative process. This means that the innovation strategy, innovation management processes, one’s products and processes are never “finished”. It is always a Work In Progress – or as it is called in the world of start-ups “Eternal Beta”.

Use the CrowdWorx Innovation Engine Platform as Your Innovation Hub

The CrowdWorx technology is designed to support agile innovation processes and can be adapted in a matter of hours or days to changes in strategy and processes.

The proprietary Space architecture of the CrowdWorx platform, as well as the built-in intelligent tools and smart assistants support everyone involved in the innovation process – making innovation easier and more exciting every day.

Test drive the CrowdWorx Innovation Engine for free now!

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