Innovation is the pursuit of a seismic shift in experience. In the simplest terms, it is a process of a steady and continuous stream of new ideas acknowledging problems to be solved. As long as there are problems to be solved, there will always be breakthroughs.
To solve the unending stream of problems that arise, we must push boundaries and create action, so it’s only natural that we innovate through a mixture of formula, instinct and experimentation. The definition is just the genesis of this hotly debated and elusive subject. There exist several types of methodologies and applications winding to the ultimate goal of solving the world’s problems.
For starters, we can reach again to simplicity, drilling down the problem to its root to realize what a good idea looks like and how a steady stream of ideation can lead to a solution. Analysis and strategy will provide the groundwork for a solid springboard to launch these visionary initiatives.
So this all seems very straightforward. Just come up with a cache of ideas against a distinct problematic objective, and the innovation will just flow. Right? Not so fast.
With an incredibly competitive market and a demanding customer base, organizations require an innovation culture to stay relevant. Many employ one of two types of innovation, even without knowing it. More often, unaware of its process, a company innovates through an incremental process. This is considerably the more conservative method and exists on small, gradual improvements to a product or service. This may not even be seen as innovation during implementation but, in retrospecting a product’s synthesis over time, one can obviously see the benefit and upgrades to its user – thus solving their problems through innovation. Incremental innovation responds to its users needs, making their lives better, becoming more useful and earning the trust of the marketplace. Because this type of innovation is more of a reaction made in increments, the process is seen as immediate and responsive, which can prove wildly beneficial for a brand – although far less attentiongrabbing than its counterpart.
The headlines we all hear about in flashing marquee lights and in the morning paper are the breakthrough innovations. Those impressive, life-changing moves that inarguably inhabit the fantasies of CEOs and startups everywhere – swirling visions of their organization being catapulted to every home in every city and solidifying their stance for years to come. Although seemingly a quick burst of information, breakthrough innovation is marked by years of research and development requiring large amounts of capital.
However an organization approaches innovation, it’s truly about the people at the helm, moving the process forward. In an age of staggering technological advancement, there exists dizzying array of innovative products – the actual innovating is about as humanistic as it gets. It’s a truly unique ability to be able to process mass amounts of information and ideas, intuitively turning them into groundbreaking creative endeavors. Every aspect of a business, brand or organization can be optimized through innovation – customer relationships, process, human resources – all in pursuit of a seismic shift in experience. This application opens up the culture of innovation to all, not solely the ‘creatives’.
Further, to innovate in an impactful manner, organizations must be able to take risks while mapping and following their creative landscape. By establishing a framework or formula for innovation, organizations can develop the capacity to continuously develop and nurture new ideas, bringing the best to realization. We must look well beyond the constraints of new products for innovation formats.
While there is criticism on the application of formula for innovation, it will always be backed up by the process of iteration, which cannot be denied. There is really no one ‘moment’ that simply materializes from thin air providing the perfect answer, tied up neatly with a bow. These types of breakthroughs are backed by countless hours of problem solving, thought gathering and ideation.
Truly authentic innovation – whether breakthrough or incremental, formulaic or organic – should not be overwhelming, nor should it require its makers to move mountains. A steady approach by iteration will generate a higher volume of good/usable ideas and bring about viable realization.