What is innovation?

As an organization you want nothing more than to sell a product or service with which your target group is more than satisfied. But the rapid technological developments may well make your product or service obsolete sooner than you had envisaged. By innovating you ensure that your product or service grows with the market. But what exactly is innovation?

Innovation literally means “renewal”. By continuing to innovate you can continue to compete in the market and your target group will remain loyal to you more quickly. This makes innovation essential for the survival of companies. But what exactly is innovation? In this blog we will answer the question “What is innovation?

  • What does innovation mean?
  • The importance of innovation
  • What are innovations: 6 common possibilities

Also interested in turning your idea into reality? We are happy to assist you. Feel free to drink a cup of coffee with us to discuss the possibilities.

What does innovation mean?

The word “innovation” can have many different meanings. Yet there is a common thread in all possible definitions of innovation. This is because the word innovation is derived from the Latin ‘innovare’, which literally means ‘to renew or change’.

An innovation is more than just a new invention. Something new’ does not necessarily have to be innovative. Even adapting a product or process falls under innovation. By doing something different than others, you can already see improved results. Indeed, often an innovation is in a small corner, that is super valuable and has a huge impact.

The importance of innovation

The market is constantly changing. This is because new technological developments follow each other in rapid succession. As a result, the needs of your target audience are also constantly evolving. Your original product no longer satisfies the requirements of your customer, but must be equipped with new possibilities and technological gadgets. Possibilities and gadgets that your competitor has already adapted his offer to.

Only by moving with the target group (and your competitor) do you remain relevant. But if you manage to innovate and stay ahead of your competition, you will see that you can strengthen and enlarge your market position.

>> Are you still doubting the importance of innovation? We have listed 6 reasons to innovate right now.

What are innovations: 6 common possibilities

When you want to innovate within your organization, the possibilities are endless. Are you going to innovate on the product itself? Do you want to make production easier? Or will you choose to tackle the entire process? Logically, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

Below we look at the 6 most common possibilities of innovations.

1. Product innovation

Product innovation involves the conception and development of a completely new product. Think for example of the development of the latest smartphone or new products for the vegan industry.

Many product innovations fail, even if the product is relevant. This is because people are creatures of habit. People prefer to keep using their old, familiar product, despite the fact that the new product may have many advantages.

When you are aware of various psychological theories, such as being creatures of habit, you can capitalize on them with your product innovation strategy. For example, this is why smartphone brands choose to bring a series of small improvements to the market rather than a whole new product. Not only is this form of product innovation faster, but it also has far fewer risks than actual innovations.

The big disadvantage of a series of small improvements is that they can be copied much more easily by the competitor. And then your competitive advantage disappears like snow in the sun.

If you opt for an actual product innovation, then you hope to be able to fulfill unmet customer needs. This makes the investments and risks higher, but being the first provider on the market gives you a greater advantage over competitors.

2. Services innovation

It is also possible to renew or improve your services. In that case we speak of service innovation. For example, think of a company that organizes training sessions on location. An innovation to this service can be to also offer the lessons/training online.

Other examples of service innovation are the strong growth in online shopping and the rise of streaming services such as Netflix (series and film) and Podimo (podcast). These examples show that it can certainly pay off to invest in service innovation.

Every organization can view the entirety of contact moments with the customer as a customer journey and thus renew (and improve) its service. Service innovation usually also requires social interaction in that your employees must be able to rise above the process to improve the customer journey.

3. Process innovation

When you choose to make internal processes more efficient or effective, you are engaged in process innovation. This could be, for example, automating certain (administrative) operations or replacing employees with machines. Process innovations can result in lower cost prices and faster turnaround times. Products and services can therefore be delivered faster and at lower prices.

Process innovations often coincide with product innovation or a technological innovation.

4. Technological innovation

Another option is to choose to take technology as your starting point. In this case, you will invest in new technology, such as robotics, machine learning or extend reality. This can lead to wonderful new products or an improvement in work processes.

Technological innovations only have added value if you know how to apply it properly within the context of your business processes. Just buying the right materials and software is not enough. Only then does the development process begin and your organization is challenged to make the technological knowledge applicable.

>> Starting to innovate? Discover our tips for innovating.

5. Social Innovation

Sometimes it can be good to adjust the way you work, organize and lead. This is called a social innovation. Converting to an agile way of working is an example of this.

By innovating on a social level, you can ensure that the satisfaction of your employees and customers grows, that there is higher productivity, which generates more profit and subsequently also more turnover.

6. Business Model Innovation

A business model innovation has to do with renewing the way you earn your money and create value. For example, consider an online company that sells white goods, delivers them to your home and installs them for you. White goods are not new, nor is home delivery or installation of stuff. But the combination of the three was.

A business model innovation goes beyond a product, process, or technology innovation. It involves a complete overhaul of your business and how you do business. Changing to a new business model is one of the most profound choices an entrepreneur can make. It has a major impact on the entire organization.

Working with Beeliners on your innovation

Do you have a good idea for a product, service, process or technological innovation? And would you like to develop your idea in cooperation with Beeliners? We would love to help you! Feel free to drop by for a cup of coffee and we will gladly discuss the possibilities with you.


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