Why do companies like Ford, Coca Cola, Pepsi, and IBM still able to compete with emerging companies despite being in the market for a long time? What makes them continue to survive in this world, which has a diversity of customer demands and wants? Innovation is what keeps successful companies to continue with their business. Change is all about usefulness. Usefulness is in the eye of the user. If you have an idea of improving something but do nothing with it, then you have not invented or innovated. Putting ideas into practice, it becomes an invention. Usefulness of the design to someone is an innovation (sometimes the invention can be less necessarily useful to the people).
Why do you need Innovation?
People invest solutions for themselves because they cannot find, afford, or the product or service that meet their needs. All these factors can push someone to innovate something to improve people’s lives. If you have a solution that doesn’t solve people’s problems, then that’s not innovation. The higher the need, the greater the motivation to invent. Investing useful things for people that they are willing to buy and use is the basis of economic prosperity. Innovation is essential, especially in business, to ensure the continuity of the business. For instance, do you know how strong Nokia was in the 1990s? It was a very powerful company in those years, but one of the reasons for its downfall was a failure to innovate and meet the demands of the market. Nokia failed to analyze the market trends and innovate products that could fit with the requirements of the customers. In the case of entrepreneurship, it is vital to ensure the innovation involves understanding the willingness and ability of the customers to buy and use the product. Sometimes the innovation can be useful, but are customers willing to pay for the services or the products you have innovated? Of course, they can be ready, but also, are they capable of paying for your service or product?
Stages of Innovation
Innovation has three stages, which are incremental innovations, radical innovations, and revolutions. All three stages depend on one another. Incremental innovation involves small steps, something that’s a minor improvement to an existing solution. Incremental innovation has taken Gillette from one razor blade to five blades. Radical innovations take significant steps, creating significant developments that are often very different from existing solutions. Revolutions happen when groups of these innovations can together cause a huge reaching impact. The computing revolution was achieved because of many new technologies such as a microprocessor, the telephone, and television. All three stages rely on each other. Incremental steps lead to radical innovations that, taken together lea to revolutions. For instance, Leonardo Da Vinci designed plans for flying machines in the 13th century, but these were not possible without advances in aerodynamics and manufacturing knowledge of the late 19th century. Innovation can also be classified into two groups depending on whether they depend on other innovations or not. The two groups are dependent on innovations and independent innovations. Dependent innovations depend on additional conditions or innovations. For instance, Facebook is of no use without the internet, or the electric bulb is of no use without an electric light system. Other innovations are independent simply because the conditions for their success are already present, though they are very few.
What do you innovate?
The focus on innovation also varies from product, process, and organization. Product innovation involves new products and new characteristics of the old product. The methods that make the product may be the same, but the product has changed. For instance, .some years ago, Coca Cola changed the original taste of their drink but did not change the packaging. The innovation has negative comments from the users, and later the company returned to its previous taste. From the story of Coca Cola, we can learn that sometimes innovation can help the company to realize what the customers need, and from the mistakes observed, they can create a product that is required by the customers. Another focus of innovation can be process innovation. Process innovation refers to new ways of doing something. The product may be the same, but the idea of producing is new, better, more efficient, or more reliable. For instance, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software and manufacture are process innovation. Organizational innovation finds new ways of structuring and managing people. The product and the process may be the same, but the idea of organizing people has changed. Big companies invest a lot of money in research, development, and innovation. For instance, this year, Apple has spent more than $16 billion in innovation as it wants to expand its iPhone dominance in the smartphone market. Companies need to establish research and development centers to research what the market wants and create solutions for them.