When is the incremental progress good
Politics, business and society do not always agree. Opinions often differ when it comes to digitization as well. On the one hand, the traditionalists with their "we-have-always-done-this-and-it-is-still-very-successful" mentality. On the other hand, there are ambitious start-ups and newcomers who want to question and innovate everything. May the competition begin!
Reality shows: Of course, it's not that simple. The digital change is sometimes not just black or white, but has different characteristics. But one thing is clear: We are undoubtedly living in a time that is characterized by constant change and renewal - welcome to the age of innovation.
What is innovation
Accordingly, the question arises as to what innovation actually means. Derived from Latin, it literally means "renewal". The word got its current economic character from the sociologist Joseph Schumpeter at the beginning of the 20th century. In this context he spoke of "creative destruction" as a continuous process of renewal and improvement triggered by competition, which can also be applied to individual companies and their products and services.
So when we talk about innovation today, we usually mean the constructive renewal of something that already exists. This can be a product, a service or a technology, but also a company-wide change or even the renewal of the business model. Of course, "mixed forms" are also possible here; not everything is black or white.
The faces of innovation
Being innovative - what does that even mean? For companies, authorities and other organizations today, the need for constant renewal applies above all. Whether incremental, radical or disruptive - there are different faces and thus also forms of innovation. Even if the perception of this is often subjective, the different types differ mainly with regard to
how high the degree of renewal is,
what exactly is changed and
how extensive the impact of the innovation is.
At a incremental innovation it is primarily about the evolutionary further development of a product or service, for example. Something that already exists is gradually improved or adapted in order to achieve new customer benefits, reduce costs, open up new markets or to be able to react to external changes such as new laws. Incremental innovation can also refer to the gradual renewal of individual business processes,
The radical innovation however, it goes much further and has a revolutionary character. New products, services or processes with equally new properties and shapes ensure that entire industries and markets are further developed. Existing market structures will be changed by a revolutionary innovation, but not destroyed.
The invention of the Blu-ray Disc as an improved further development, for example, led to press shops changing their production processes and dealers adding a new medium to their range.
In relation to the change of a company, an authority or another organization, this means: Several, essential fields of a business model are renewed, but not the business model as a whole.
Last, but not the least, is that disruptive innovation one of the defining topics of the last few years, as it goes much further in terms of the scope and impact of the change than all forms of innovation before. Disruptive innovations attack the status quo by causing a change in customer behavior, inventing new markets and fundamentally disrupting the existing rules of the game.
In contrast to incremental and radical innovation, disruption is rarely intentional. Existing companies, authorities and other organizations can usually not "disrupt" themselves, but are disrupted and often even displaced by start-ups, for example.
New players with new business models open up new markets. Put simply, disruptive innovations, which are often based on new technologies, ensure that existing products or services are no longer needed. The increasing popularity of digital streaming services such as Netflix - to name just one of the numerous examples - results in massive existential difficulties for press shops and video rentals.
Basically every company, every authority, every organization and therefore every industry should use digital change for themselves and understand innovation as an opportunity. If you strengthen your core competencies through the use of digitization, you go one step further instead of standing still.
Success in the digital age can primarily be achieved through regular evaluation of one's own strategy. But a good feeling for trends and developments is also important. The innovation style that can be applied to all situations and market conditions like a template for success does not exist anyway.
It is important that you establish a form of innovation that suits the respective area and topic, but also your own organizational culture. If this is not possible on your own, you should seek help from a company that understands the various types of innovation and understands practical support.
Not everyone can and should develop a disruptive culture of innovation. Digital technologies in themselves are not disruptors either. However, disruptive players often understand more than established companies that innovation always comes first and foremost from customers and their needs. One thing is undoubtedly one thing: if you don't keep up with the times, you go with the times - sooner or later! And those who are not innovative stick to today, which tomorrow will have been yesterday.
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