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Innovation as a Key to Success

Updated on June 7, 2014

Do you consider yoursef to be an innovative person?

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What is Innovation?

Innovation is about adaptability- being able to approach obstacles in life and in business fom a new perspective. Without innovation, we can get stuck in our ways, and wind up making the same mistakes over and over.

The term innovation can be defined as something original or new. This can refer to problems in the workplace, problems in our relationships, and even problems with ourselves. If we cannot embrace innovation, we cannot progress - we cannot improve.

Innovation is one of the most important factors when it comes to success.

Success in Business Relies on Your Ability to Be Innovative


Innovation as the Key to Success in Your Personal Life

Often, we have difficulty recognizing our own limitations - preventing us from seeing the big picture. In many situations, problems that arise in our lives or our homes are best solved when we work together with those around us.

Expertise can be the enemy of breakthrough thinking and innovation.

The more we know (or think that we know) about a particular subject, the harder it is for us to think a different way than they normally think. Solutions become limited to our own area of expertise, while other aspects of the problem are ignored. In order to come up with solutions that work, we need to combine the expertise of those around us to avoid making the same mistakes we have made in the past.

Sometimes the best solutions for your life come from outside your area of expertise. Sometimes the best innovations can be found beyond the limitations of your own mind.

In the end, you may just wind up finding solutions to problems that have stumped you for years.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

Don't Allow Yourself to Become Trapped by Your Own Limitations


Innovation as an Engine for Student Success

Innovation as the Key to Success in Your Work Life

Do you know the musical artists Sugar Hill Gang, Norman Greenbaum and Autograph? Odds are you don't, but you would probably recognize their music if you heard it. This is because these artists all are considered "one hit wonders" in the music industry. They climbed to the top of the music charts once, and then we never heard of them again.

This is not too different from what happens to many businesses. A company generates a unique idea, they gain momentum from that idea, and then they quickly fall of the map.

What can you do to prevent your organization from becoming a one hit wonder?

You need to ensure that your innovation efforts are sustainable, yet flexible so that they can be adapted to the constantly changing environment of the business industry. There are five key components required for successful long-term innovation - strategy, measures, people, process and technology.

  1. Strategy- Needed to decide when, where and how innovation will be used within a company, strategy addresses why innovation is necessary for an organization.
  2. Measures- Just like any other capability, innovation needs to be both measured and measurable. Who will be measured? What types of measures will be used? How will intangible values like adaptability be measured? How will you relate the innovation to your overall business structure?
  3. People- Your customers are your culture. If you want a culture of innovation, your employees must embrace actions, beliefs, values, skills and language that are consistent with this objective. Everyone, at all levels, must appreciate and value different points of view. Creativity needs to be encouraged within the organization and the proper leadership models must be in place.
  4. Process- Innovation requires an end-to-end model for targeting, generating, selecting and implementing new solutions. The best process for innovation is one that starts with a challenge and ends with value for your organization.
  5. Technology- Collaboration tools that can be used to enable communication among employees, consumers, suppliers and experts are imperative for successful innovation. This allows solutions to be captured that facilitate the replication of innovative thoughts and ideas.

Such technologies enable communication at all levels, across all organizations and across business boundaries.

Now is the time to make innovation a capability with the same level of status as finance, sales and marketing. Doing this will prevent your innovations from becoming one-hit wonders.

Innovative People Can Look at Problems from a Unique Perspective


TEDxBerkeley - Carl Bass - The New Rules of Innovation

The Three Levels of Innovation

Level One- Innovation as an Event: This is where most companies find themselves. They conduct brainstorming sessions and hold random contests to generate new ideas. If a good idea is produced, there is value added to the organization.

Level Two- Innovation as a Capability: This is the next phase of innovation. The organization puts in place structures and processes to define problems, generate and evaluate solutions. They develop action plans to help them implement the solution.

Level Three- Innovation as a System: The ultimate level of innovation involves creating an environment where innovation tends to be embedded in everything in you do. With embedded innovation, workers innovate to deal not only with problems or challenges, but with everything they do. This creates exponential and ongoing value to a company.

The Connection Between Innovation and Adaptability

Innovation is essential to the progression of any business.

Innovation is not about new processes, new services, new business models, or even new ideas.

It is about staying one step ahead of your competition so that you are not devoured.

Let's face it, there are a lot of hungry competitors out there.

And when you are trying to outpace the bear (your current competition), you need to make sure you don't run into an alligator or a tiger (your future competition).

Innovation is about change. Not a onetime change, but ongoing change.

It is about adaptability, flexibility, and agility.

When the pace of change outside your organization is greater than the change of pace within, you will be eaten and have a tough time keeping your company afloat.

And as you are well aware, the pace of change outside of your company is faster now than ever.

So what can an organization do to not get eaten up by the competition?

The answer to that lies in a basic understanding of the three levels of innovation.

Level one is that innovation is an event. Level two is that innovation is a capability. Level three is that innovation is a system.

© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal


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    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Fantastic article; I am encouraged and empowered. The video clips were a solid addition. Thank you for taking the time to put this together.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal 3 years ago from Bridgewater

      Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed it :)

    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 3 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      Great hub, Kathleen! This hub is so fresh, current and is exactly what we all need in this innovative era. Technology, new businesses and science are very dominant and need to be constantly innovative to keep up with the changing world. Innovation is the key to a changing world and you have excellently explained why.

      I have enjoyed this hub - well done! A true inspiration for everyone out there to get inventing, writing or painting! (I love your photos of the skyscrapers) Shared and voted useful and interesting.

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 3 years ago from Pune( India)

      Article is wonderful and thought provoking.In USA corporate s and people interact and promote new ideas , gets fruits.

      In India despite advantageous , our corporate s and government are still not able to bring changes and copying others .

      pramod gokhale

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal 3 years ago from Bridgewater

      Thanks Eric!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well now I see why schizophrenia helps when being innovative ;-)

      Great article chuck full of great stuff.