Are you innovating for growth or just spinning your wheels?
There are endless ways to define innovation. But to us, it simply means something new that makes a big difference. Or, as Peter Drucker put it, “change that creates a new dimension of performance.” At NextVista we believe that innovation—and the change it brings—is essential to growth. We can help you take a more purposeful and effective approach to innovation.
What Innovation Is—and Isn’t
- Innovation is purposeful. The chance discovery many years ago that certain microbes kill other microbes was just a scientific observation. The application of that unexpected observation to the development of penicillin was the important innovation—the thing that had an impact on people’s lives.
Not all innovation is disruptive or transformational. Some innovations are incremental, but are not necessarily unimportant. For example, Procter & Gamble calls incremental improvements to existing products (better, easier, cheaper) “sustaining” innovations because they are important to sustaining market share and encouraging trial (e.g., better cleaning Tide).
Creative approaches to growing existing offerings, such as innovations in marketing, packaging and promotion, are called “commercial” innovations and generally have the same important effect.
- Transformational and disruptive innovations, however, drive major new growth. These innovations allow a company to reframe existing product/service categories and bring order-of-magnitude improvements—and fundamental change—to an established market. Sometimes they represent completely new business opportunities and enable the creation of entirely new markets, such as what P&G did with Swiffer and Febreze.
- Not all transformational innovations are product/service innovations. Sometimes business model innovations—the way the product is made, distributed, priced and sold—can change the customer value proposition significantly enough themselves to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
- Innovation is absolutely necessary—but not sufficient on its own for sustainable business growth. Innovation should be happening throughout the organization, and usually the people, strategy and execution are more important than the technology and/or the innovation process.
The idea is only the beginning, though. As Thomas Edison famously said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”