What does it mean to be truly innovative? And what is just the natural progression of product design and improvement?
I have read many articles on the topic and have had many conversations as well. I believe there is general acceptance on the basic meaning of innovation. The definition I use to describe true innovation is:
Non-obvious information and activity related to a product or process that yields value
Let’s explore the definition. “Non obvious”, if there is a generally accepted gap or well-known weakness, the fact that a company solves it is not innovative, it’s just common sense. If a company comes out with a new model of something that was previously innovative, that itself is not innovation, that’s just good business and improvement on something existing. The fact that the iPhone 6 is amazing is not innovative, there may be features about the new iPhone that our innovative, but the phone itself is not. If it is obvious it’s improvement, if it’s outside the box in concept but address is a need that’s innovation.
“Yielding value” is the second part of the definition that I view as mandatory. Ideas for amazing products or improvement two products that are not able to be capitalized on or yield any kind of value regardless of it being financial or other, are just ideas. You need to draw the line at some point where you are able to quantify the value of an idea and having a file cabinet full of ideas that could change the world in my opinion cannot be classified as Innovation unless it materializes into something of value.