Albert Einstein famously said that “we cannot solve the problem with the same thinking we used when we created them”. Organizations that act upon the opportunities for change through innovation in the uncertainly volatile business environment, will not only survive but will successfully compete. They will even flourish in the face of adverse and fluctuating business and economic conditions. They will use innovation as a strategic, systemic & technological lever for developing agile innovation cultures, accountable business management processes and global industry eco-systems.
Nothing matters more for economics and human living standards than innovation. It’s innovation that has allowed us to cure diseases and extend life spans. It’s innovation that has drastically increased the pace of transportation and communication, and ultimately, it’s innovation that has let most people do high-wage work rather than subsistence agriculture.
Innovation can be incremental, such as a slight variation on an existing product formulation, like adding a new colour or fragrance, or a ground-breaking product that revolutionizes an industry – think iPod.
The models of innovation are just about as numerous as the objectives they are intended to serve. Innovation can improve almost every aspect of a product or service life-cycle, from business model innovation to pricing strategies, marketing, and service delivery. Amazon.com transformed e-commerce with its innovative distribution channels, making a huge array of products available nationwide virtually overnight.
We often think of innovation today in terms of technology. While it’s true that technological innovations in the recent past have been ground breaking, innovation can come in many forms. It can be a creative new teaching method to enhance student engagement. It can be a unique incentive program to reward high-performing employees, or it can be a process such as lean methodology, a model which streamlines workflows and eliminates waste to keep costs low while maintaining quality. Innovation can respond to a clearly defined problem, or create a complete paradigm shift when the problem itself is undefined or the path to a solution is unclear.
Mr. Deepak Dhingra is Sr. Audit Executive with Indian Audit and Accounts Department and President CMA. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org