Determine Innovation Sources
In the 21st century, innovation is being discussed in many professions, from business to other areas. If emerging trends are anything to go by, then innovation can be the way to the top. Amazon, Facebook, and Google have proved this. The terms innovation and improvement have been used by people interchangeably; however, the terms vary in meaning. The difference between innovation and improvement is analogous to that between evolution and revolution. Improvement is mostly making a product or a service better than it was before; it is not always revolutionary. Innovation is deeper than only making improvements; it brings a long-lasting change that has a lot of impacts. A lot of times, a question has been asked about where innovation comes from.
Identify sources of innovation
According to Peter F. Ducker, the sources of innovation are as follows:
Sometimes innovation takes place by chance, unexpectedly, while doing something, someone might stumble on a new product or idea. The list of unexpected innovations is long in human history. Fire, for instance, is an innovation that human beings only stumbled upon (Pratap, 2016). Dynamite is another example. It is important to note that many significant innovations in human history have happened unexpectedly. Sometimes when scientists try to find a solution for something, they come across something else on the way.
Sometimes a need may be in-congruent with supply; in such cases, innovation might be born. Innovation might come about to try to resolve these incongruities. For instance, as the number of cars grew, the parking space was insufficient (Pratap, 2016). As a result, a smart car was born, and this is a car that can fit into small spaces. Therefore, an important source of innovation is incongruities.
Necessity is the mother of invention and also the mother of innovation (Pratap, 2016). For instance, the need to delve deeper into the microbial world caused the innovation of the microscope. People always think about the solution when there is a need for something. Innovation is based on brilliant ideas. We tend to think of new things that can be able to fulfill the need that exists sufficiently.
Find Divergent Thinkers
A magazine article in Harvard Business Review (2015) suggests that to innovate better, organizations should find divergent thinkers. An experiment was conducted where researchers asked roofers, carpenters and inline skaters how to improve the safety gear for all the activities. Each group was significantly better at coming up with solutions for fields other than their own. Such research show for a fact that the greater the distance from the conceptual problem, the better the solutions. Carpenters and skaters, for example, were able to come up with ideas for improving the convenience and safety of the safety gear of the carpenters. Studies have shown that it is invaluable to seek expertise from fields that seem different but have structural similarities. It helps companies to come up with new ways of coming up with breakthrough ideas.
Interaction with other people
A study by Björk and Magnusson (2009) found that good innovative ideas also arise from interacting with different people. The study indicated that there is a clear interrelationship between the quality of innovative ideas and the network connectivity of people. The more connected employees are, the better the quality of their ideas. Therefore, some level of interaction is needed to generate innovative ideas. Organizations should, therefore, support and facilitate interaction and connectivity of the employees to each other and to other external organizations.
Assess trends and forecasts that are affecting (or will affect) your industry
The long-term direction of the equipment industry is in the midst of being transformed by cutting-edge industry trends. The trends will have a significant influence in 2018 and beyond. The top manufacturing trends for 2018 are discussed below:
The rise of smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0 has allowed manufacturers to utilize advanced manufacturing and information technology capabilities throughout the product life cycle. Experts call Industry 4.0 the next industrial revolution, and with good reason (AEM, 2018). It has the potential to improve production processes, improve factory floor safety, and improve efficiency because it gives better abilities to analyze and monitor assets. Improved simulation and monitoring give manufacturers intelligence about their systems. This trend is definitely rising, and manufacturers must have the commitment to point out the needs of the business when adopting technology. It is needless to invest in technology without a laid-out framework on how to take advantage of it for the betterment of the company.
Technology advancements are pushing manufacturers to venture into a new age of automation. Machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence are all likely to disrupt the industry in the years to come; and is already stirring the manufacturing industry. Companies face the hard decision of whether or not to automate to best obtain value. Manufacturers have extensive ability to automate the activities and jobs on the show floor (AEM, 2018). Other areas of business can also be automated today, such as maintenance, administration, and management. Additionally, machines have the capability of matching or exceeding the productivity output of their human counterparts.
Evaluate possible disruptive innovation.
Disruptive innovation creates a new value network and market and eventually explodes to disrupt the existing value network and market and displace the market firms, alliances, and products already established in the market. These innovations are mostly created by entrepreneurs rather than the market industries existing in the market. The term disruptive innovation has been used too broadly that it has lost its clear meaning. The term has been used loosely to refer to any innovation that shakes the market a little.
Uber: Disruptive innovation?
Uber is a transportation company connecting consumers who need rides with drivers willing to provide them. The company has grown and reported huge financial success. Its success has born many imitators. It is clearly transforming the taxi business, but according to the theory of disruptive innovation, it does not qualify as genuinely disruptive (Christense, Raynor & McDonald, 2015).
This industry has undergone several disruptions. IBM’s mainframe, for instance, was disrupted by the mini-computer. The mini-computer was disrupted by the PCs. IBM managed to survive all the disruption by transitioning into new products. In fact, they were the only company that made all the transitions; all others were disrupted (Christensen, 2015). The next disruption was the smartphone, and IBM missed it completely.
AEM. (2018). 5 Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2018. Retrieved from https://www.aem.org/news/january-2018/5-manufacturing-trends-to-watch-in-2018/
Björk, J., & Magnusson, M. (2009). Where Do Good Innovation Ideas Come From? Exploring the Influence of Network Connectivity on Innovation Idea Quality. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 26(6), 662-670. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5885.2009.00691.x
Christensen, C. (2015). Disruptive innovation is a Strategy, not Just the Technology. Business Today, 23(26), 150-158.
Christensen, C. M., Raynor, M., & McDonald, R. (2015). What is Disruptive Innovation?, Harvard Business Review, 93(12), 44-53.
Pratap, A. (2016). What are the sources of innovation? Retrieved from https://www.cheshnotes.com/2016/09/sources-of-innovation/
To Innovate Better, Find Divergent Thinkers. (2015). Harvard Business Review, 93(6), 26-28.
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Week 3 – Assignment: Determine Innovation Sources
Due July 1 at 11:59 PM
Write a report in which you discuss and evaluate the sources of innovation. The report will be given to senior management of your chosen company. You should include the following:
- Identify sources of innovation
- Assess trends and forecasts that are affecting (or will affect) your industry
- Evaluate possible disruptive innovation.
Support your paper with a minimum of three (3) peer reviewed articles published in the last five years. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.
Length: 3-5 pages not including title page and references
Your response should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.
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