Before starting to write this I Googled the word "Innovation" to be greeted with 1.57 billion results four times that of "Excellence", this sums up the the interest and importance of innovation in today's world more aptly than any other argument I may put forth.
An innovation is a feasible relevant offering such as a product, service, process or experience with a viable business model that is perceived as new and is adopted by end users. This aptly describes Innovation to be something new, usable & commercially viable.
In today's competitive environment, often the ability of an organization to consistently innovate can determine its success, and many times its survival. In post COVID out break competitive world, and one that continues to face economic uncertainties due to the pandemic, most have accepted the paradigm shift to "Innovate or Perish." What is less clear is how to innovate. This is surely the million or in this inflationary world a Billion Dollar question.
What is innovation has been debated and there are multiple methods advocated for innovation. When we think of innovation the obvious options pop up, starting from Edward DeBono, Tony Busan, professor Clayton C in more recent past, then the theories like Open innovation , Blue Ocean, Six Hats, Disruptive Innovation come to mind. Indian origin stalwarts C.K. Pralhad and Govindrajan have championed Innovation too.
However, it seems to me that few of these address how to go about innovating. What they do well is at most offer ways to manage innovation or evaluate the innovative ideas that emerge when an idea is born. None of these sources clearly set forth a way or method to actually create a truly innovative idea in the first place.
So do we depend on a Fluke / Juggad for an innovative break through , the answer is an emphatic No in an environment where we need Innovation on Demand.
WE cant afford to wait for a Fluke and for me Jugaad* is absolutely not an innovation. In most cases Jugaad is just a patchwork, a very elementary way of getting things done, which is non-scalable. Jugaad is just a work-around to overcome some local constrains and in a majority of the cases it is technologically naive and imperfect.
So we have to depend on people , their ingenuity , Creativity to innovate or keeping the customer as the center of focus carefully listen to the "customers' voice" by using market research and surveys. The problem here is that it is not clear that the customer is presently in an advantageous position to provide information about his/her future needs. Henry Ford allegedly once said "if I asked my customers what they want they would ask for a faster horse". so it is also a fact that many times the customers find it difficult to imagine their future needs.
So trying to harness creativity we turn to "Out of the Box thinking- Brain storming, however this most common technique for generating new ideas, is a fairly unreliable tool for innovation, because among other things, it has a tendency to eliminate the ideas with the greatest potential and novelty value. I So what other options are open to us when we set out to innovate?
I would love to hear from all of you , whats your take on the best way forward to Innovate , do write in .
*-Juggad is an Indian phrase used to describe the kind of ingenuity that enables Indians to manage the large and small challenges of everyday life.