You don't need an idea to start a business

How to Achieve Innovation and Business Transformation?

by Francisco Santolo

What Distinguishes a Simple Idea from Transformative Innovation? At the heart of this question lies the transformative power of true innovation.

How to Achieve Innovation and Business Transformation?

What is innovation? "Doing something different to achieve better results."

I have found this simple definition to be the best way to explain the complexities of innovation with an actionable and powerful formula. Let's delve into it:

The term "different" encompasses ideation and invention, two components that often capture media attention. We think of "disruptive" technologies, those that have marked and will continue to mark the future. However, true innovation does not require a technological revolution. In reality, creativity, associated with the component of difference, is the ability to combine existing concepts in novel ways. It should not surprise us, then, that generative artificial intelligence algorithms, with their capacity to establish infinite connections, demonstrate this facet of "creativity."

The simplest solution, often emerging from lateral thinking, experimentation, error, serendipity, active listening to customers, or multidisciplinary collaboration, tends to be the most effective and prevalent.

Many transformative technologies and solutions are relegated to academic publications, created by brilliant minds more focused on devising or inventing than on innovating, or patented by large corporations that limit their disclosure to protect their markets.

The real challenge of innovation lies in achieving "better results." This concept leads us to reflect on efficiency, cost reduction, and increased productivity, but still, the definition is incomplete.

The issue of "better results" really centers on a key question: Who are they better for? Here comes into play one of the most misunderstood and crucial concepts in business: value. Value is subjective, varying according to the person, group, situation, and circumstances.

The complexity of innovation comes from changing the status quo, which involves redefining the value equation for a broad group of actors with often opposing interests, desires, needs, frustrations, and ambitions. This is the real game of innovation.

Innovation then complements ideation and invention with the design of business models, which establish hypotheses about who the involved actors will be and what value they will generate, exchange, and capture (and how). But this is still not enough; those models must be implemented and validated sustainably to become innovation.

The step to real innovation — the commercialization, implementation, and acceptance of a solution — is a long and arduous path. It requires effort, work, perseverance, iteration, active listening, negotiation, resilience, and a constant process of trial and error.

This is the world of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, often shunned when the understanding of their nature and the personal and professional costs they entail is reached.

In summary, innovation transcends mere invention or ideation. It is a complex weave of creativity, strategy, and adaptability, where true value is measured not only in terms of efficiency or profits but in how it redefines the status quo for a wide spectrum of actors. In this dynamic playing field, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs play a crucial role, in navigating a sea of challenges and transforming problems or opportunities into viable and sustainable solutions.

Are you interested in training in the world of entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and innovation? We recommend our Online Course in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

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