Innovation is the new buzzword in corporate Inc. but unlike with previous fads this one is here to stay. A much used and lesser understood term, innovation is a process and it can be either radical or even incremental which create a value add to an existing product or service. Thus it is evident that there is more to innovation than a mere discovery or invention and neither is creativity synonymous with innovation.
The concept of innovation is not new considering the fact that history has it that one of the first forays into the innovation space happened way back in 20,000 B.C. when the first bow and arrow were invented through to the new age explosion of the web which has revolutionized our existence. However all innovations are not so radical and if statistics are any index the majority of innovations are incremental.
Based on the’ 4 Ps’ model which was developed by none other than John Bessant and colleague Joe Tidd there developed a concept about the most critical components of innovation where change must occur. The assumption being made is that innovation is essentially about change for the better and the major focus areas where innovation can occur includes one or more of these:
- Product Innovation
The name is suggestive considering that this inculcates innovation and changes in products and services. The changes could be radical and sudden or small and incremental
- Process Innovation
This generates change in the very way that services and products are created and provided. Thus innovation in the process of manufacture and delivery of goods and services is better connoted as process innovation.
- Position Innovation and
Position innovation is essentially about changing the very way that a product or services has been perceived by the customer or the end user. To illustrate what began as manual worker apparel from Levi- Strauss was repositioned as a style statement in the next few years.
- Paradigm Innovation
This is essentially a mental image about a product, service or company which the process owners may generate and strive to innovate and deliver.
To illustrate the case in point, with a real time example where all the Ps in the model are addressed could well be that of a community based aid program. This works on the concept of product innovation by the introduction of a plump nut for addressing nutritional needs. This is then followed by an innovation in the process wherein a community based distribution channel is used. When it comes to paradigm innovation, there has been a transformation in mindset, thus translating the concept that only an aid company can provide the service. Finally the traditional notion that malnutrition is best treated at home has been transformed with the introduction of community based feeding programs and this is a paradigm shift.
Conclusively then Innovation is not new to mankind but the very way that innovation is addressed is a new age connect considering the fact that it works on the concept of addressing multiple parameters is not just about inventions as was the assumption in 20,000 B.C.