Let’s talk about Innovation.
Innovation is often an overused and misunderstood term that gets frequently tossed around. Stating that you wish to be innovative is like saying you hope to achieve success. Similar to the idea of success, innovation in business can be measured in different ways by different people. Most people would agree that innovation is a vital part of any organization. But with so many different definitions out there, how do we truly understand what it is or how to achieve it?
Definition of Business Innovation
Let’s define it with what we know. Innovation in its most basic form is implementing change.
If you Google it, you will come across hundreds of thousands of articles, definitions, and blog posts all with a similar yet slightly different idea, approach or understandings of the word.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines innovation like this; “Innovation in its modern meaning is a “new idea, creative thoughts, new imaginations in form of device or method.” Innovation is often also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs”.”
We live in an environment where change is constant. Businesses change their models, employees get fired, new people get hired, technologies are upgrading, old trends are returning, new trends are disappearing, and ideas are evolving. Just because change is happening all around us, does not mean that we are automatically innovative.
Most people know innovation as new, brilliant ideas that will allow for improvement or positive change and less for the implementation of better solutions for current practices. When we think of innovation, we often think “new” as opposed to “improve”.
When businesses apply innovation to their model, they can set themselves apart from other corporations. So, how can you apply innovation to your company? Stating that your business aims to be innovative can be a far off, vague goal that may or may not be measurable. Applying a new practice or improving an old one is innovation. However, that does not mean that every new method you put into place means that you are innovative.
How do we apply innovation?
As a Virtual Assistant (VA), I define myself as innovative. VA’s take the norm of administrative support and turn it into something that offers businesses options that are outside of the scope of hiring an in-office assistant.
As an example, if a company hires a VA, they are no longer required to pay sick leave, vacation time, employment insurance, benefits, office supplies, and office space. The business is hiring an expert in a specific field to complete the particular administrative tasks that need to be completed.
Another example of innovation is the regular change in technology. Apple and Samsung are constantly riding on the waves of brand innovation. The moment they launch a new product, there are millions of people standing in lines waiting to get their hands on the latest technology. Does each of these people need a new phone? Most likely not, however, Apple and Samsung understand innovation at its finest. They have built a brand so strong that even if people don’t need a new phone, they feel an urgency to have the latest device.
Applying impactful, well thought out change to any business can be frightening, but it can also lead your business to new heights.