Innovation and creativity are often used synonymously. While similar, they’re not the same. Using creativity in business is important because it fosters unique ideas. This is a key component of innovation.
Creative ideas don’t always lead to innovations because they don’t necessarily produce viable solutions to problems. For an idea to be innovative, it must also be useful.
Why is innovation important for businesses looking to achieve growth and success?
Based on the insights shared by Harvard Business School, innovation can help you stay ahead of the curve and grow your company in the process. The school states three reasons innovation is crucial for your business:
- It allows adaptability. Routine operations were rendered obsolete over the course of a few months. Many businesses still sustain negative results from this world shift because they’ve stuck to the status quo. Innovation is often necessary for companies to adapt and overcome the challenges of change.
- It fosters growth. Stagnation can be detrimental to your business. Achieving organizational and economic growth through innovation can help you stay afloat in today’s highly competitive world.
- It separates businesses from their competition. Most industries are populated with multiple competitors offering similar products or services. Innovation can distinguish your business from others.
What are the different types of innovation?
There are three types of innovation: radical, incremental, and disruptive. They may vary depending on the niche, market, brand essence, services, and products offered as stated by SYDLE.
- Radical innovation changes the circumstances of a brand, whether in terms of market or of business dynamics. It can occur due to a complete change in a company’s positioning, work method, processes, services, and products offered, or how it relates to customers.
- Incremental innovation adds new features to a product, brand, or production methods without promoting a drastic change. It’s usually an evolution of an innovation already implemented by the brand that complements and offers improvements.
- Disruptive innovation follows the market more than a specific brand, product, or service. It can be leveraged by something a company has offered and, as a result, made its name. In general, it’s a scalable change that reaches many people at the same time.
How can businesses foster a culture of innovation?
Women in Communications and Technologies (WCT) says becoming more innovative comes down to workplace culture and building the right environment where everyone can contribute to innovation. Here are three easy ways to begin fostering a culture of innovation:
- Communicate – Let employees know where they can submit their ideas. To inspire more people to contribute ideas, organizations should encourage a more structured (but creative!) approach.
- Create an Innovation Sandbox – Define what innovation means for your organization. Employees need to understand what types of ideas the team and the organization think are innovative. Providing a framework outlining the type of ideas that the organization is looking for will not only empower team members, but will allow them to be more creative and push the boundaries of the innovation sandbox.
- Be open to new ideas (and be willing to build on them) – True innovation often comes from molding together multiple ideas. Being open to new ideas, especially as an executive, is essential for changing the innovation culture of the organization.
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