What’s the fuss about Innovation?
These days the word ‘Innovation’ is everywhere. Every business has its own ‘Innovation’ function / department and in each case, they do something different. Over a series of blog posts, we will delve into what the word innovation means today, how it can be approached and what tools exist to facilitate better, faster and more innovative innovation!
So, what do we mean by Innovation? ‘The use of a new idea or method’ (Source: Cambridge Dictionary). By definition therefore, innovation has been around and happening since the dawn of time. It’s interesting then that it’s a pretty recent phenomenon that people started to think about innovation differently. Use of the word innovation started to grow starting sometime in the 1950’s and it’s mentions have continued to increase since then.
Today, innovation has come to mean a whole bunch of things: New products and services, new propositions, new digital tools, new ways of marketing, new ways of interacting, new ways of thinking…. The list goes on. The word innovation is so overused that it’s meaning has become ubiquitous. Those of us lucky enough to work on innovation projects, know that to be around at the genesis of a new idea / product / approach, is very exciting. Over our next few blog posts, we will make the case for what we mean by innovation and why it’s an essential part of every brand, product and business strategy.
We often get asked, ‘how can my company be more innovative?’ We believe innovation is the execution of creativity so to be more innovative, one needs to be more creative. We don’t believe that creativity is some rare attribute reserved for artists. Instead creativity comes from a combination of insight and experience.
So, how do you know if you’ve had an insight? An insight is something that gives us an ‘Ah-ha’ moment. We’ve all had one - One day, usually when you’re thinking about something else, the answer to that question you’ve had at the back of your mind for ages, just drops into place. It’s hardly the ‘lightbulb moment’ of cartoons, but will usually culminate in you thinking ‘An-ha’… Now you know what you need to do. Once you’ve had your ‘Ah-ha’ moment then solving the problem is often much easier. That’s where innovation kicks in.
Innovation is the hard work that converts all the energy that is captured in the insight, with a knowing nod to past experience and wraps it in a big bow to create an end product, service or experience that creates new value for the end user. Because the ‘Ah-ha’ is the start of the journey, not the end, the innovation stage can often be the most painful part. It’s where the grit and determination needed to see something through to the end really come into play. Innovation is about working harder but importantly, smarter, than your competition. Luckily there are lots of ways to facilitate smarter working. That’s where we come in.
At Wolffe, here are some of the things we do:
- Help clients to be more insightful and get to the ‘Ah-ha’ moment
- Translate that ‘Ah-ha’ into a prototype solution for the problem and test it
- Create new products, service and brand innovations to bring that ‘Ah-ha’ to life and solve it!
How do we do this? In our next blog post we will talk about some of the tools we use to make innovation a reality for our clients including ‘Accelerate’, ‘Empower’, ‘Inspire’, three of our key approaches.