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Innovation is a key element for companies in providing growth and for increasing results. Innovation means a new way of doing business; it may refer to incremental, radical and/or revolutionary changes in extracting value for a business through a fundamental change in approach to a market, a technology, or a process. A company that overlooks new and better ways of doing business will eventually lose customers to another competitor that has found a better way.
However innovations as any other aspect of a business require an investment and investment is about the future. Sometimes you invest in a future that plays by the same rules as today. Other investment is about a new future that plays by new rules. If you make investment decisions on an extrapolated new future based on the today’s rules then you can make costly mistakes.
Investment decisions can require complex analyses. To make them easier, managers often use tools to help with the financial analysis. The problem with these tools is that they often value innovation and non innovation in the same terms. They encourage managers to make unfair demands on returns on investment for internal innovation projects.
We believe that creativity is a process not an accident (“chance prefers the prepared mind”), although it’s often tempting to believe that individuals are creative or non-creative. Creative people also love to play around with the ideas that they collect. For them everything is connected – part of an overall pattern. Old ideas are moved around, combined, squeezed, and stretched to make new ideas.
Innovation within businesses is achieved in many ways. One way involves the use of creativity techniques. These are methods that encourage original thoughts and divergent thinking (e. g. brainstorming, morphological analysis, TRIZ). New ideas that have been generated by the use of creativity techniques have to be structured and evaluated. In order to complete the innovation process the selected promising ideas have to be deployed into practice.
For this reason we have developed a structured methodology that supports the ongoing evaluation of innovations throughout the prioritization, piloting, and deployment lifecycle We make use of process performance analyses as an input to three levels of statistical thinking that support the innovation process from identified needs to pilot results.
The first step is collect together old ideas – as well as existing facts. You need to know as much about the world in general and get a solid, deep working knowledge of the business situation that underlies the need for a new idea. This may seem daunting or unnecessary, but facts are the raw material for innovation. And because of changes to markets, competition, regulation, and technologies, “old ideas” previously dismissed may, perhaps after further adaptation, take on renewed promise.
It is important to approach innovation and its evaluation through a broad appreciation for causality: al