The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Believing in Innovation: The 'mantra' for the changing world

Sarv Saravanan
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Sarv Saravanan
Today, there is a significant focus on the topic of innovation. While it may sound like an oxymoron, when we say "process of innovation", since innovation is driven more by intuition, the process of innovation in any organization starts with the realization that the world is changing. The change may be effected by demography changes, change in customer preferences, technological shifts, competitive landscapes and other disruptions.

Once this is understood, the internal change towards organic innovation is often impaired by the mindset rather than any technical problems. Change is resisted because of the unknown, lack of risk appetite, denials about the imperatives of the needs to change and most often the resistance is not rooted with any rational reason. We should not be afraid of failing. What we should be worried about is “not trying”. Change is a drawn out process and does not happen overnight. It starts with infusing new thinking and it is important to keep pushing the envelope at every level.

Innovation is not outside the regular daily activities that we do and is very much a part of the job we do and it happens because people share thoughts and ideas. Collaboration is central to how we do things - curiosity, inquisitiveness and relevance underline innovation.

In my view there are typically three types of innovation – Incremental, Adjacent and Breakthrough or Disruptive innovation. Not everything we do needs to be a breakthrough innovation. There is plenty of value we could create, through exploring adjacencies, with the clear understanding of what the company’s vision is. Incremental innovation within products that we are working on will help us increase value to customers and the organization on an ongoing basis. Disruptive innovations are often not technological; they are often business model changers, like the Sony play station vs. Nintendo example.

It is imperative that organizations understand the business benefits of innovation and the leadership of organizations should embark on programs that enable it. The outcome of these innovation programs and their impact and relevance to the market should be measured. The starting point of these programs is to create an idea pipeline, experiment and translate these ideas into products or solutions and eventually create a Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy to create and capture value.

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