Over half (53%) of British business managers believe that innovation is little more than just a fad or a buzzword (according to our research, published in the Everyday Innovation Report). Equally, 72% have said that they have no idea what innovation actually means to their employer…
With 40,000 people in the UK searching for terms such as “innovation definition”, “define innovation” and “define innovative” every month, it is not surprising that there is still a lot of confusion surrounding what innovation actually means.
Most businesses will be innovating to a certain extent, mostly through incremental innovation efforts, targeted at producing quick and easy wins. At the other end of the innovation spectrum is radical innovation, where organisations are striving to influence large scale projects and products, such as those under the remit of R&D departments.
Between both of these there is a lesser known and somewhat overlooked methodology: differentiated innovation. This is aimed at creating medium scale changes, involving multiple teams with medium to low risk. This is often customer-focused innovation, creating competitive advantage which due to its scale, can deliver more frequent and significant results. This is where our definition of EveryDay Innovation comes in.
If you’ve been following our blog or social media, you will know that we’ve been talking about EveryDay Innovation a lot recently and for a good reason: 38% of managers who responded to our survey stated that they don’t feel like innovation is their responsibility, as it’s not explicitly mentioned in their job descriptions. We want to hone in on the idea that innovation should be everyone’s daily responsibility.
A successful organisation’s future depends on making innovation part of everyone’s everyday life, from the warehouse worker to the C-Suite. Each member of staff has their own perspective on the work they have to perform every day, so they will be better equipped to make suggestions on how to make improvements. This is either because they deal with customers and hear their requests every day or because they know from experience more efficient ways of performing certain tasks. These people need to be listened to and incentivised to participate in innovation programmes.
By focusing on differentiated innovation, organisations are able to unlock their true innovation potential in a tangible and palatable way, which can be easily delivered across the whole of the organisation. This is often designed to increase levels of internal staff engagement, as well as generating real business benefits and driving customer experience.
All of these methodologies are valid and can be used to drive innovation forward in a sustainable, practical and strategically aligned manner. However, each organisation will need to define what innovation means to their own individual structure and tailor the mix to suit their specific goals.