What Does Innovation Mean?

Innovation is a common term in business today. Companies must embrace change to move forward and reach goals.

Knowing when and how to innovate is crucial to success. Here are some ways to identify innovation and put it to work in your organization.

Definition: What Does Innovation Mean?

Society is constantly evolving. Regular technological advances directly contribute to rapid change.

Customers count on companies to provide new products and services on an ongoing basis. Many companies are reinventing popular brands to meet growing demand.

Even small businesses are affected by innovation. Studies show they create 64% of jobs in the United States each year.

Innovation is the process of creating or improving products, services, and processes. Regardless of size, these changes significantly impact how companies serve customers.

This definition, however, is just the beginning. Innovation encompasses all aspects of life. Its effects are felt by everyone in one form or another.

What it means to innovate will differ from one organization to another. According to Tucker Marion, who chairs Northeastern’s D’Amore McKim School of Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation programs, individuals and organizations have the potential to impact their industries. This occurs by those who are “willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes.”

Debunk Misconceptions About Innovation

Debunking misconceptions is an important part of answering the question, what does innovation mean? Here are three of the most common to consider.

1. Innovation means creating something new.

Many people think innovation means developing a new product. In actuality, the keys to innovating are timing and opportunity.

Knowing when change is needed is essential to innovation. Updating an existing product or altering a process is just as innovative as creating a new product. It’s all about recognizing a need and acting on it.

When opportunities to be innovative arise, be ready to take them. If you don’t see an opportunity, create one.

Knowing your industry, your market, and your customers will help you with both timing and opportunity. Even the smallest of changes count in big ways and should not be dismissed as a failure to innovate.

2. Failing has a negative impact on innovation.

Experimentation is an essential component of innovation. A new idea will either work or it won’t. Failing, however, is not the end of the experiment.

When an experiment fails, you learn what didn’t work and why. This gives you the opportunity to make the necessary changes and try again.

You may even choose to go in a different direction. This turns what could be viewed as a failure into a success.

3. Innovation can’t be learned. You are either born with it, or you aren’t.

A lot of factors must be present for an innovation to succeed. Though it may seem like some people are born with the ability to innovate, forming great ideas and the ability to carry them out can be learned.

So, what does innovation mean? The answer will differ from one person and organization to another.

The more you innovate, the more you’ll learn. Your experience and skills will help shape your own personal definition of innovation as you positively impact the future.

Looking for more ways to help shape innovation in your organization? Request a demo and learn how you can start an IdeaScale community.

This article was originally published on the IdeaScale blog here.

IdeaScale is the leading innovation management software platform for the enterprise, government, and education. Gather ideas, implement them. www.ideascale.com