Too successful to innovate?
What is innovation? Why innovate?
The Collins English dictionary defines innovate (verb) as follows: “… to introduce changes and new ideas in the way something is done or made”.
That’s interesting… but why innovate? Why is innovation so important?
Innovation is above all a way of thinking; a way of being that compels us to constantly recast ourselves in light of new knowledge. New knowledge gets us rethinking what already exists to improve upon it, or to invent something entirely new.
The goal of innovation should be to meet a need more efficiently than the way it is already being met. Innovation is pointless without a set purpose or goal. For example, within companies, innovation should serve operational or business needs.
Too occupied to innovate. © DR.
Companies that understand the importance of innovation, or continuous improvement, enjoy the following benefits:
- They become or remain competitive.
- They provide value for their clients.
- They differentiate and enhance their offer.
- They increase profitability by cutting costs.
- They improve their operational efficiency.
- They enhance the quality and image of their company.
- But especially… they stay alive and have fun into the bargain.
In order to achieve this, companies must ask the right questions from the outset, as soon as they take their first step on the road to innovation:
- What is the goal of the project? What will the innovation do, and for whom?
- What internal and external solutions and resources already exist to meet the need?
- How feasible is the proposed solution?
- What kind of investment is required to implement the solution or innovation?
- What will be the project’s return on investment?
- How long will it take for the solution to pay for itself?
- What are the short, medium and long-term benefits of the solution?
Innovation comes easier in companies that make it part and parcel of a continuous improvement process, as opposed to a one-time, radical change. Companies that don’t innovate are vulnerable to competition that finds a way of standing out through innovation.
In other words, innovation isn’t just important… it’s vital. Innovation must be an integral part of a company’s culture and values. Innovation is what allows companies, and humans, not just to survive, but to thrive.
Watch with a square seconds wheel, as invented by Michel Vermot, Microtechnical Engineer. © Montres Maurice Lacroix.