What types of innovation are there?

Type innovation is often associated with an activity related to creativity, chance or the inspiration of a moment. But these elements, which may be important for the innovation process to take place, are just some of the components that intervene in this process.

Innovation is often associated with an activity related to  creativity , chance or the inspiration of a moment. But these elements, which may be important for the innovation process to take place, are just some of the components that intervene in this process. In fact, having ideas is simple, having good ideas is more complicated, but what really constitutes a strategic challenge for companies is to continuously generate good ideas and turn them into products and services with commercial success in the market. This is what we call  innovation management , focused in these cases  on product / service innovation .

Types of innovation

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Another way to innovate is by modifying the way things are done within the company. For example, redefining the production processes can serve to increase the value of the final product thanks to a lower manufacturing cost, a shorter response time or a higher quality. It is what we call  innovation in process .

But it also innovates redefining or incorporating new management processes in the company ( innovation in management ): definition of new procedures to systematize certain operations (purchases, quality control, safety at work, etc.), modification of the forms of interact with customers and suppliers incorporating new communication technologies, redefining strategies for marketing products or services, etc.

That is to say, innovation does not exclusively imply the generation of new products and services, but also affects the way of doing things. In this sense, there are different definitions of types or classes of innovation. The Oslo Manual, a bibliographic reference on innovation, defines the following four types of innovation:

  • Innovation in product / service: Introduction in the market of new (or significantly improved) products or services. It includes significant alterations in the technical specifications, in the components, in the materials, the incorporation of software or in other functional characteristics.
  • Innovation in process: Implementation of new (or significantly improved) manufacturing processes, logistics or distribution.
  • Organizational innovation: Implementation of new organizational methods in the business (knowledge management, training, evaluation and development of human resources, management of the value chain, business re-engineering, quality system management, etc.), in the organization of work and / or in external relations.
  • Marketing innovation: Implementation of new marketing methods, including significant improvements in the merely aesthetic design of a product or packaging, price, distribution and promotion.

In many cases the definitions of organizational innovation and marketing are usually grouped under the general name of innovation in management. So, we could be talking about the following types of innovation:

Innovation in product / service: definition of new products / services or significant increase in the quality or functionalities of existing ones

Innovation in process: definition of new processes, or improvement of existing ones, aimed at increasing the efficiency level of the company

Innovation in management: improvements in the company’s management activities (logistics, administration, warehouse, etc.)

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Here are some examples of the types of innovation indicated.

Innovation in product / service

New products or improvement of existing ones : the launch of the iPhone was a before and after in the world of telephony. Its constant improvements can be considered equally product innovation.

New services or improvement of existing ones : in order to offer new services and retain their customers, the company is constantly developing free or paid applications (browser, maps and compass, games, access to social networks, etc.). )

Innovation in process

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Incorporation of new manufacturing technologies, increased level of automation of production processes through the incorporation of robotic systems, etc.

Donuts: the company has innovated in the manufacturing process to offer an improved product. One of the presentations of the product is the packaging in individual blisters with controlled atmospheres (rich in CO2) that increase the duration of the product. It involves innovation in process (adaptation of the manufacturing process for controlled atmosphere packaging) and innovation in the way the product is presented.

Innovation in management

  • Implementation of Management Systems
  • Implementation of quality management systems, environmental management, R + D + i management, etc.
  • Implementation of software tools to support business management (ERP, CRM, document management systems, etc.)
  • New ways of getting services to customers: incorporation of electronic commerce systems, on-line management systems, electronic banking, etc. (Example: ING Direct)

It is also worth noting the definition of types of innovation that is used for the purposes of  applying tax deductions in Corporate Tax . In this case, the legislation only differentiates between technological and non-technological innovation, the first being the only valid one for the application of deductions. In this sense,  technological innovation is understood as  the activity whose result is an advance of new products or production processes or substantial improvements of existing ones. That is, innovation in management and, in certain cases, process innovation would be outside the definition.

Technological innovation

The field of technology is characterized by continuous progress. Innovation, therefore, is one of the characteristics of technology that involves the creation of new devices , in many cases, from the modification of existing elements. Therefore, innovation leads to the competitiveness and development of high-quality technological goods and services. The introduction of new changes allows the creation of new products that, surely in the future will also be subject to innovation processes according to the different technological needs that must be covered.

Among the examples of technological innovation that can be mentioned are the various electronic devices, such as the latest generation mobile phones that contain various useful applications for users.

Business Innovation

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In the business world, innovation is one of the elements that are taken into account when it comes to commercial success.

The concept of business innovation can refer to the introduction of new products or services in the market and also to the organization and management of a company.

Sometimes the products or services marketed do not represent a change in itself, since the novelty may consist of a new approach to existing products .

Business innovation can mean a renewal of products or the company itself, generally updating to the demands of the market.

In many cases, the success of a company depends on the degree of innovation, because this feature may be the distinguishing feature that makes it successful.

Educational innovation

Innovation within the area of ​​education means introducing novel changes in this area to improve the teaching and learning process .

Educational innovation can affect several elements such as the material resources used, for example, the introduction of interactive devices such as digital whiteboards in the classroom; as well as activities, timing or evaluation methods.

Sometimes, the changes that are introduced affect the entire educational process. For example, the distance education training processes represent an educational innovation that entails changes at all levels.

Disruptive innovation

The concept of “disruptive innovation” is used especially in the business area. It refers to an innovative change process aimed at a minority audience that quickly becomes a reality with great commercial demand.

Disruptive innovation occurs when new companies present new products, services or business models that outperform leading companies in the same sector in the market.

Innovation and creativity

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In many cases, innovation is strongly linked to creativity, discovery and invention. To make a change that involves introducing something new, a creative process is necessary.

Sometimes, creativity represents a variation of something already existing, for example, through an association of ideas. The concepts of innovation and creativity occur in various fields such as industry, business, education and art.

Finally, type of innovation is a change action that is a novelty . This word comes from the Latin innovation, -unis which in turn is derived from the term Novocain, -are make new, renew, which is formed with in – inward and nous new. Innovation is usually associated with the idea of ​​progress and search for new methods, based on the knowledge that precedes it, in order to improve something that already exists, solve a problem or facilitate an activity. Innovation is a continuous action over time and covers different fields of human development. Among other terms that have a similar meaning and can be used as a synonym are advancement, invention, reform, renewal, among others.

Roger Walker

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