Jan 17, 2023 • 2 min read
Innovation for entrepreneurship in your business: everything you need to know
One of the reasons why the concept of innovation for entrepreneurship scares many entrepreneurs is the idea that innovating is difficult, expensive and risky. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Alessandro Di Fiore, founder and CEO of ESCI European Centre for Strategic Innovation, 68% of business leaders believe that innovators are born, not made.
However, innovation is about creativity and creativity depends 70% on the environment, as a well-known study on identical twins showed. But this is just one of the myths about innovation that we want to debunk today. Here we talk about 5 more.
What is innovation? And innovation for entrepreneurship?
Innovation is not synonymous with invention. Many entrepreneurs believe that to innovate they need to invent something as meaningful as the wheel or the internet. However, to innovate is also to incrementally improve something that already exists.
In that sense, innovation for entrepreneurship does not require great revolutions, but can be based on optimization. And one way to optimize is to take ideas, approaches or technologies from other fields as a base.
That’s how Gutenberg revolutionized the publishing world. In reality, the invention of the printing press has less of invention than of adaptation. Gutenberg took the printers’ working model and adapted it to writing: he created letter molds and devised a way to put one after the other.
Innovation is, more often than you think, about remixing cross-ideas. In fact, most innovation for entrepreneurship starts with curiosity. Can x be done? Can x be improved? Why doesn’t it work?
The opposite of innovation is…
What many of us do both at work and outside of it: take for granted a way of doing things just because it is the one that has been used. We do not review, question or rethink. Sometimes, we even lose curiosity and accept the first plausible answer to a question. This is how we get stuck and unable to solve problems.
The main difference between innovators and the rest of us is that innovators ask more and better questions. In addition, they are more motivated to find answers and accept them, even if those answers are not what they wanted or expected to find.
And now, let’s talk about myths about innovation for entrepreneurship
(01) Innovation is a solitary activity
As we tend to think of innovation in terms of mind-blowing new inventions, we also believe that innovators are unrepeatable geniuses, weirdos with wild ideas and strange looks. However, even the most eccentric scientists need other people to implement the innovations they have dreamed of, and usually those other people end up gradually improving their inventions in some way.
(02) It is impossible to teach how to innovate
We couldn’t disagree more and we say so in the first line of text on our website: we are your innovation partner from discovering opportunities to developing solutions. Something that, by the way, also challenges myth number 1.
By helping you innovate, we teach you to keep doing it for yourself. What happens is that teaching innovative thinking isn’t like teaching math or French, it’s more a matter of teaching people how to tap into their existing natural curiosity to unleash their innate capacity for innovation.
(03) Innovation for entrepreneurship works vertically
In other words, it is managers who innovate and grassroots employees who work according to those innovations.
The idea may be attractive to these managers, but the reality is different: in a fast food restaurant, for example, the counter employee realizes much earlier than anyone else in the central office that the new trays are flimsy and difficult to stack. In fact, smart companies like Four Seasons and Whole Foods explicitly recognize that the closer an employee is to the end user, the more likely they are to develop concrete ideas about how to innovate. The role of managers is therefore to listen.
(04) Innovation cannot be forced
On the one hand, it is true that we cannot expect great results if we arrive at the office one day and give our employees the order to innovate. What is feasible is to create an environment that encourages and rewards curiosity and, therefore, promotes commitment and innovation to undertake. It is, to a large extent, about improving talent management in your company. And this is also innovation.
(05) Innovation is not for everyone
Let’s think in historical terms: since our ancestors first stood up, the human being has evolved through innovation: we have created more and better tools, different and better circumstances and more effective and efficient ways of doing things. It is quite far-fetched to think that, suddenly, most of the species has lost that basic momentum just at the dawn of the twenty-first century. If anything, our ability to innovate is now exponentially greater because of our unprecedented ability to share information and ideas.
If there is something that digitalization and globalization have achieved, it is to multiply the possibilities for people to become Gutenberg. You may need help when it comes to innovation for entrepreneurship. But we guarantee that today it’s easier than ever to find new ways of doing things. And at Ideafoster we help you find them. Contact us!
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