Innovation FAQ
Innovation is the creation of an idea, practice or object that is perceived as new” E.M. Rogers, 1983. Diffusion of Innovations

Some FAQ

Q. What type of organisation should innovate?

A. Innovation is applicable to all types of organisation, large and small commercial companies, manufacturing and services sector, government organisations and non government organisations, educational institutes. It is particularly applicable where value can be generated, option measured in financial or commercial terms.

Q. Who should take responsibility for innovation?

A. The key driver is the chief executive. Without this interest and commitment, attempts at innovation are most likely to fail. Innovation is most likely with an entrepreneurial spirit. The actions of the head of the organisation is to initiate processes for innovation, to sponsor innovative endeavours within the organisation, to foster a sense of empowerment of personnel, to encourage and facilitate collaboration on innovation with other organisations.

Q. What form of innovation is appropriate to my organisation?

A. A commercial entity providing products to a competitive marketplace will always be conscious of financial return from new products, the arrival of new technologies, the natural life cycle of products and the need for replacement products, the analysis of profit from the different products and their markets.

A producer of base materials and products will be conscious of cost and efficiencies as well as quality. This invokes review of the operations and can result in new innovative processes.

The government and non government organisations are primarily concerned with innovative ways of providing services and disseminating information. Innovative warehousing and display and delivery of information can transform the appeal and efficiency of these organisations. Service delivery technology supported workflow and processes will greatly enhance the services offered.

Q. Is innovation a major challenge for my organisation?

A. Innovation can not be assumed to occur, even with employment of educated and enlightened and creative personnel. There is a very specific determination in the organisation both top down and bottom up that will provide the dynamic for change to an innovative organisation. While the history of modern innovation will be associated with initiatives from the early 1980s, great innovations will have happened over many centuries that will have transformed business and society. However attention to innovation on a wide scale and specific adoption within many individual organisations will have occurred from the 1990s. In some countries this became evident when some businesses changed their name to incorporate the word innovation.

Some of the core, demanding, initiatives to change to an innovative organisation include:

Q. What kind of benefits can be expected from innovation?

A. The change to an innovative organisation can be a transformation. For a commercial product organisation it can mean the move to significant growth, market leadership, higher profit margins, and high proportion of sales from recently launched products. For a service organisation it can mean greater client satisfaction through offerings that surprise and delight in terms of quality and timeliness. Greater client satisfaction invariably operates in parallel with great employee work satisfaction.

Q. Is innovation a one off initiative for the organisation?

A. Innovation starts as one or a series of stop-start initiatives. A number of these will be experimental and will falter or fade away. Others will initiate and learn from the early experimental work.

When more embedded it become more formal and matures. This maturity should not bring about undue democracy that stifles creativity, individual initiative, and the positive thinking needed to make a success. Major innovation can be disruptive of an organisation and will cope where certain core and supporting processes in the organisation are at a mature level of capability.



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