Continuous innovation is related with the gradual evolution that occurs in our habits, activities and operations. As customers change what they are looking for or what they consume, companies have the obligation to get adapted into to their demand. When talking about continuous innovation in business we usually think: "innovate or die".
Technology for continuous innovation
As mentioned technology plays a very important role in continuous innovation because every product in a company is constantly changing and consumers can easily find out about all the latest news at any time. So taking this into account, the only way to know exactly what consumers want as a product is to engage them continuously.
Nowadays, all the advances of technology allow us to create new things or change them so rapidly and this make easy to introduce any type of product in the market. Moreover, we are living in a global economy where what was new last month becomes obsolete the next. It is for that reason that companies with continuous innovation improve easier the development cycle, reduce costs and communicate rapidly with the demand of other markets and this is how the most challenging companies succeed. However this rapidity in continuous innovation leads to a high competition in every aspect of the business and when corporations fall to deliver what customers really want lead to a failure in the business model.
Ideas are rare and hard to find so the new techniques in high-tech startups are testing many ideas rapidly. This way continuous innovation can be achieved that now is trying to use every domain and in a massive scale.
According to the creator of Amazon Jeff Bezos, the success of its company is a function of how many experiments they do per year, per week, per month per day. the key of realization in the market is to learn fast, get to know the competition, stay relevant to customers and grow business model.
Development of innovative thinking
To have a continuous innovation in business it is necessary to have the ability to innovate thinking. These are three characteristics to get it:
- Seek out inspiration: "innovative ideas often come from happy accidents" When somebody of the company is living something out of his work is when it comes up with an idea for it corporation
- Combine similar ideas: "Often innovative thinking comes from combining popular ideas or products from different disciplines." For example, Steve Jobs create the first iPhone combining three old ideas.
- Solve a problem: Innovative ideas often are results of problems that existed before. Once Einstein affirm "we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them".
Process of continuous innovation
Analyzing how can the continuous innovation be created and maintained by a company there are some elements to focus on.
First of of all, innovation strategy. This means an innovation management plan that aims to achieve innovation objectives over time where plans or projects are collected and to improve the innovation management system.
Secondly, it is important to find processes to capture and generate solutions to real problems. These processes are carried out through lateral thinking or co-creation. This helps to create an innovative and creative culture for all groups in the company. On the other hand, a monitoring system is needed to identify sources of information. When this is controlled, the transformation into useful knowledge can be achieved and then the knowledge can become known or be distributed. This way, surveillance strategy and comparison with competition can be achieved.
Fourthly, there is the exploitation of innovation, seeking solutions to market products, creation, promotion and use of knowledge management achieved.
Summarizing the elements to maintain a continuous innovation are:
- innovation strategy
- ideation and culture
- exploitation of innovation
- TechTarget,(2018) Empower your business with continuous innovation, Converge infrastructure.
- Ash Maurya, What is continuous innovation?, Leanstack academy.
- Bryan Collins, (2018) Three strategies for developing innovative thinking, Forbes.
- Robertson, (1996) The process of innovation and the diffusion of innovation, in Journal of Marketing.
- Martin (2017), The innovation process: Definition, models and tips Cleverism.
- Amit Dua (2018) Continuous business innovation is the key to growth, Yourstory.
- Rikke Friis Dam and Yu Siang Teo (2019), Design Thinking: New Innovative Thinking for New Problems, Interaction Design foundation.
Author: Andrea Capa