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Process, forms & types of innovation



A. define what is "innovation";
B. analyze what kind of innovation is needed and is feasible for your business;
C. compare the different types, fields and levels of innovation practiced by other actors of your market area.

Innovation is truly a confusing buzzword which many people love to hate. Every business leader agrees that it is important. But nobody can quite seem to agree on what it actually is or what it means.

If you ask Google for an innovation definition, it is less than helpful, coming up with over 300 million results with thousands of definitions. Its own definition is pretty much useless: “the action or process of innovating”. Using the traditional sources for a definition such as the Oxford dictionary also doesn’t help much, with their answer being “Make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”.

Time needed to review this content: 30 MIN

The word innovation primarily means novelty, the creation of something new. In practice, this term is used to label processes in which something new is created, resulting new products, services, technologies or methods.
There is a phrase saying that innovation lasts from the idea to implementation. But here is some other definition from innovation experts. INNOVATION MEANS...

• ... something new to your business that fills an untapped customer need. Ideally, the innovation builds a new market. – Jonathan Rowe, Gene Express Inc.
• ... turning an idea into a solution that adds value from a customer’s perspective. – Nick Skillicorn, Improvides Innovation Consulting
“... staying relevant” – Stephen Shapiro, Innovation Instigator
.... the implementation of creative ideas in order to generate value, usually through increased revenues, reduced costs or both. – Jeffrey Baumgartner, author and keynote speaker
... new, organic value creation by applying creativity, in-depth relationships with consumers and customers, and new thinking. - Michael Graber, Southern Growth Studio
• ... part of our everyday life. In the past, money, machines and land gave the wealth for change. Today constant development is the key to the success of your business.


Innovation means interaction between various actors.

“Innovators” can work together in various forms:

• Closed (conventional) innovation - the company uses its own knowledge-portfolio and the creativity of its employees to create something new
• Open innovation - is a combination of internal (knowledge-portfolio, creativity of employees) and external (e.g. counsellor) knowledge and resources
• Living Lab – means that the end users are involved into the development process, they cooperate in the innovation process and help the company with ideas.

A way of innovation process, can be the next 5 stages, what defines the Innovation:
Management, Policy & Practice study (

1. Idea Generation and Mobilization
New ideas are created during idea generation. Mobilization occurs when the idea is moved to a different physical or logical location, such as an outside firm or another department.

2. Advocacy and Screening
Not all ideas are worth implementing. Advocacy and screening help evaluate an idea and measure its potential benefits and problems. From there, a decision can be made about an idea’s future. One of the biggest advantages for the joint processes of advocacy and screening is refinement. If the idea has potential, discussions and arguments help enhance it. The study in Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice mentions how this stage prepares an idea for upper management, which can call for a different approach. Because idea generators don’t always have the skills to advocate for their ideas, managers working with the idea generator can facilitate, encourage and support the person.

3. Experimentation
The experimentation stage tests an idea, such as with a prototype or pilot test. Researchers in Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice carefully note that “Experimentation does not test an idea’s objective merits, but the suitability for a particular organization at a particular time.” Some ideas “might be ahead of their time or beyond the present capacity of the company … [they] may be set aside into an idea bank or idea library for development at a later time.”
Experimentation can remain continuous or exist in spurts, as advocates and screeners reevaluate an idea. Sometimes, experimentation leads to new ideas due to information that is gathered on the results and the overall feasibility of the original idea. Time is crucial in this process; individuals must be given adequate time to run the experiments. As refinements and evaluations occur, they must be given enough time to reflect on the experiments.

4. Commercialization
Commercialization aims to create market value for an idea by focusing on its potential impact. This step makes the idea appealing to the audience, such as by packaging an idea with other ideas, clarifying how and when the idea can be used, and using data or prototypes from experiments to demonstrate benefits. Commercialization is the stage of the innovation process when the focus shifts from development to persuasion. After the idea is clarified and a business plan is created, it will be ready for diffusion and implementation.

5. Diffusion and Implementation
“Diffusion and implementation are two sides of the same coin,” researchers wrote in Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice. Diffusion is the companywide acceptance of an innovative idea, and implementation sets up everything needed to develop and utilize or produce the innovation. Diffusion happens at all levels of an organization. This process is often aided by knowledge brokers, who are effective at presenting an innovation by using their awareness of “the specific content and application into which an idea, product or service can be inserted.” As a result, knowledge brokers are able to assist with rapid implementation.

The use or application of the innovation should be demonstrated by the end of this stage, along with acceptance of the innovation. For the innovation to succeed, it will need the proper resources, a marketing plan for customers and an open culture with strong advocacy. Also important to diffusion and implementation is the opportunity for future ideas; this final stage allows the organization to determine the next set of needs for customers. Receiving feedback, in addition to indicators for success metrics and other benchmarks, enables the organization to stimulate the innovation process once again.

Once we have learnt the process of innovation, we shall decide what kind of innovation we would like and we are able to pit through in our organisation.

The following categories will help you to decide:

1. Incremental (also calling sustaining) – Low technological advancement, low market impact
Incremental innovations involve modest changes to existing products and services. These are enhancements that keep a business competitive, such as new product features and service improvements. Like the annually new version of iPhone.

2. Breakthrough – High technological advancement, low market impact
Breakthrough innovation refers to large technological advances that propel an existing product or service ahead of competitors. This is often the result of research and development labs (R&D), who are striving for the next patentable formula, device and technology. LHC, transistors and the discovery of the structure of DNA are both good examples of breakthrough innovation.

3. Disruptive – Low technological advancement, high market impact
Clayton Christensen introduced the concept of disruptive innovation in his classic book The Innovator’s Dilemma. These tend to be new approaches to old products and services.
I’ve referred to disruptive innovation in the past as crappy innovation, because it tends to perform poorly on previously defined parameters (like early digital cameras that took lousy pictures), but outperform on a different parameter, such as price or convenience or compatibility. Disrupting existing technologies by changing the business model to make it more affordable to the customer need.

4. Game changing – High technological innovation, high market impact
Game-changing innovation transform markets and even society. These innovations have a radical impact on how humans act, think and feel in some way. Innovation that not only transform the market, but also the society. They impact our lives in a major way.

Ten types of innovation

Profit model - The way in which you make money. For example, how Netflix turned the video rental industry on its head by implementing a subscription model.

Network - Connections with others to create value. For example, how Target works with renowned external designers to differentiate itself.

Structure - Alignment of your talent and assets. For example, how Whole Foods has built a robust feedback system for internal teams.

Process - Signature or superior methods for doing your work. For example, how Zara’s “fast fashion“ strategy moves its clothing from sketch to shelf in record time.

Product performance - Distinguishing features and functionality. For example, how OXO Good Grips cost a premium but its “universal design” has a loyal following.

Product system - Complementary products and services. For example, how Nike+ parlayed shoes, sensors, apps and devices into a sport lifestyle suite.

Service - Support and enhancements that surround your offerings. For example, how “Deliver WOW through service” is Zappos’ #1 internal core value.

Channel - How your offerings are delivered to customers and users. For example, how Nespresso locks in customers with its useful members only club.

Brand - Representation of your offerings and business. For example, how Virgin extends its brand into sectors ranging from soft drinks to space travel.

Customer engagement - Distinctive interactions you foster. For example, how Wii’s experience draws more from the interactions in the room than on-screen.

There are hundreds of definitions and interpretations of the meaning of innovation. But as a business, innovation is the ability to constantly create methods, products, processes, and environments that keep your business alive and relevant across changing times and spaces. Most businesses are living with a survival mentality, but innovation does not occur in that space.

How can you build and support innovation in your organization, whether you are a small start-up or a large corporation?

Step 1: Change Your Brain
Studies have shown that innovative people are not only able to think ‘outside the box,’ but think like there is no ‘box’. They have trained their brain to look at the world in a different way than the average person. One of the easiest ways to expand your own brain’s ability to innovate is to start clearing it through daily meditation practices.

Step 2: Learn Something New
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” –William Pollard
One of the first places that businesses cut back in tight times is learning and development. Yet, this robs from their future ability to innovate and grow. Every person in every company should have a learning plan. Even if it’s just reading about one new thing per day, it’s essential to keep our brains elastic and viewing everything from a broader perspective.

Step 3: Make Time
Did you know that taking even five (5) minutes a day to stop, change your paradigm (physically, mentally, visually, etc.) and look at something differently will increase your ability to break down bureaucracy, see something anew, and innovate? Every company can at a minimum take on our Thrival School Innovation Hour. This is sacred time and space to stop, question, contemplate, and quit running at 100 miles an hour.

Step 4: Fail, Learn, Repeat
Society teaches us that failure is unacceptable and not an option. When people fail in the workplace, something close to a modern day lynching of that person can occur. Yet failure is essential to innovation. Some of the greatest innovations of modern day society were built on hundreds and thousands of failures. The world is designed for “Fail / Learn / Repeat”. Even in nature, you can see this is exhibited everywhere. So your office environment should be designed to allow for the ‘Fail and Learn’ process too. Drop the cycle of ‘feel bad’, blame, and endless rounds of fault-finding. The faster you get to learning, the more innovative you will be.

Step 5: Eliminate Ageism
One of the fundamental failures of many workplaces is the belief that age = knowledge. For the older generation, they tend to discount the younger one as not having enough life experience to ‘see’ how it will go and can quash innovation. For the younger generation, they can believe they know it all and discount the wisdom of experience, which can cause massive preventable failures. Innovative work-places nurture a deep respect amongst generations so innovative ideas can have the best of all generational views incorporated into them.

Step 6: Past ≠ Future
Did you know that many well-known products failed the first time they were launched only to return stronger than ever at the right time and place? Innovative workplaces do not let their past determine what is possible in their future. Ideas are not ruled out just because they have failed in the past. Every idea is evaluated for its relevance in the current time and place.

Step 7: Capture Innovation
If someone came up with an innovative idea, does your organization even have the means to capture it before it gets forgotten, buried under a pile of papers, or discounted? Innovative organizations have a way to capture and evaluate ideas generated from every level of the organization. What is your process? How could it work better? Create it, and institutionalize it today!

People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.


Innovation is people using their imagination, experience, curiosity, instincts and relationships to develop and implement ideas that create value. Innovation is the fuel of our future — new products, new services, new markets. But it isn’t just the “next big thing.” It’s also a million small things. Innovation is about people working within a philosophy of continuous improvement and change.

If you are looking to spark this kind of innovation, here are 5 tips to keep in mind:

1. Innovation is everyone’s job. Whether you lead a team, a group, or an organization, you’ve got to involve and rely on others. Isolating “a creative few” as the sole visionaries in the organization simply won’t cut it anymore. Thirty years ago, by the time an idea got to the CEO, it had been sifted through multiple layers of management. Now, savvy leaders encourage e-mails, phone calls — anything to hear directly from people on the plant floor or on the front lines of customer service to get their opinions and suggestions.

2. The heart of innovation is trial and error. While many say they do, too few organizations truly encourage failure. I have, however, known hundreds of individual leaders (at all levels and from a cross-section of industries) who created environments for their departments or teams where failure was acceptable. Where it became a learning experience, and not something to be punished. These leaders shared their own failures and made it safe for others to do the same.

3. Tell stories that show how mistakes can become successes. One such story: For years Charles Goodyear labored to find a way to make rubber commercially useful. Then one day Goodyear accidentally spilled a mixture of rubber and sulfur he was holding on a hot stove. The chemical reaction of heat applied to this mixture resulted in the discovery of the vulcanization process used to manufacture rubber tires. And with that “mistake,” an industry was born.

4. Help stamp out the Not Invented Here (NIH) mindset. An example of generating motivation to break that mindset came from General Electric in the days when Jack Welch was in charge. Welch made it clear that the sharing of good ideas across the organization was a high management priority. This posed a challenge for GE managers because of the size and diversity of the company. If you did have a good idea, how could you identify the people in other businesses who might benefit from it? The Chief Learning Officer at GE came up with a simple solution. He created a “hot line” to be manned by his team. This operated similar to a dating service – only instead of matching people to potential mates, it matched good ideas with business units that could put them to use.

5. Broaden your definition of innovation. Move the concept of innovation beyond new products and services to include strategic innovations – new ideas about mission, values, and goals; administrative innovation – changes in internal systems; field level innovation – solutions from those closest to the customer on ways to better serve those customers; and job-related incremental change that encompasses everyone in every position finding ways to do things differently and ways to do things better.




Innovation is the key to maintaining the competitiveness of your business. Therefore this learning pill presents the steps, forms and types of the innovation process. Generating nor developing your company, therefore the business owner must ensure an innovative environment within the company. This learning pill will give you advise in this respect.


Take the ten types of innovation and write 3 ideas for each type a project idea that could be feasible within your business.
Define at least one measure that will make your working environment more innovation-friendly.

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