I’ve always conceded that the capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas can be considered as a central and defining feature in developing not only businesses, but people too. When considering this in the context of innovation, it’s about wanting to do things differently and it’s about wanting to do things better.
With Intervate’s roots sitting firmly in both the business and technology space, innovation has been the key driving force behind the company’s success and remains one of our core values, and one that is constantly nurtured and encouraged.
In order to be best-of-breed in this crowded space we’ve worked very hard at providing solutions to real business problems through a robust technology and academic ideas hub. With this in mind, we make sure we provide businesses with measurable innovation solutions, which enables them to justify their growth to stakeholders and simultaneously drive their shareholder value.
From idea to solution
However, when you’re sitting with a tabula rasa, how do you channel ideas into tangible solutions? Personally, I think it’s a delicate combination of excellence with a little added stress or uncertainty that provides the perfect breeding environment for ideas.
Innovation can be viewed in two ways; incremental innovation and radical innovation. Incremental innovation seeks to improve the systems that already exist, making them better, faster and cheaper. Radical innovation is more focused on new technologies, new business models and breakthrough businesses.
A good example of this is Apple’s iPod. As a workable incremental example, the original iPod was only available in white and did little else other than enabling users to store and play mp3 music collections. Incremental improvements have occurred over time and now iPods are available in many different colours and can store photographs and video collections.
Looking at iPods from a radical innovation perspective, this is disruptive technology in its purest form. The invention of the iPod forced record companies and competitors alike to comply with its usability and offerings and caused a seismic shift in the music industry on a global scale.
Coming up with ideas
In my experience, the best way to come up with ideas is through conversation, much like those had on Facebook and Twitter. Intervate has recognized this and resultantly provides businesses with corporate ‘social media’ platforms to capture and filter their innovation-driven ideas, all the while affording employees to build and develop them themselves. The result? A thoroughly enriched experience through idea implementation, internally and externally.
To further bring the ethos of innovation to life, I took an idea into the traditional social media space of Twitter with a hashtag called #startacompany. I did this because there are three things integral to practical innovation: a good idea, accessible resources and connecting and knowing the right people.
This holistic approach means the idea is given life through individuals who are able to problem solve and fund it. For example, not too long ago I tweeted that airlines should ditch their in-flight systems and provide Wifi and Tablets instead. These tweets are thrown into the ‘twitter-sphere’ in the hope that someone who has the capability and know-how can pick up on and address the ideas.
I believe that by establishing what you are defining as a successful innovation and innovation program within your organization and measuring a few key indicators to demonstrate the effectiveness of the programme, you will be able to provide a reasoned and educated status of your efforts. There is no doubt that money talks. With this being said, having the ability to prove that your efforts are producing positive, bottom line-based results serves to only further enhance the credibility of your company.