It showed up on this headline. Much like how it shows up on best-selling business books, keynotes of speakers and wherever itching ears want to hear more about it. Innovation. It remains the buzzword of the past half century and perhaps onwards. Why are we fascinated by it? What magic does it weave? Does it really do anything or do we have a blind misplaced trust in it? Let’s take a look.

Innovation is a solution that meets a customer’s need in a new way. The degree of ‘new’ determines a company’s creative, industrial or scientific chops.

Innovation drives the product:

An ingenious idea that gets the customer’s need propels itself. So, the more we dive deep into understanding that, the better we get at staying ahead of the curve. Apple dominated that way. GE turned around. IBM continues to roll as a juggernaut. These companies get the meaning of it all – if it does not meet a need, it’s worth nothing at all.

Innovation drives service:

It makes an invisible thing feel like a real thing. You aren’t just walking away with a cup of coffee when you visit Starbucks. You have just given into the magic of their calling. It permeates you and suddenly you feel good forking out a good part of the wallet for that experience. It works because of only one thing… consumer expectation. So, do we exploit it or find a high ground?

Innovation drives the culture:

It’s not just what you do, but how you go about it that defines your ‘innovation’ factor. Leading medical device companies have somehow crushed that idea and, in the process, have demanded high-priced premiums. They lead, hence they determine. However, a new way of thinking is suddenly disrupting their modus operandi – value implants and the human-priced model. Thankfully, the trend in our current healthcare environment is moving towards cost containment.

So what’s the point of it all?

The truth remains that innovation is about meeting a need.   All too often, we innovate first and try to find the problem later. If we do not pursue the customer and create an honest interface, we have done ourselves wrong. Make innovation all about the consumer; whether it’s the price or the product, service or the culture. That’s the human business model we follow. How about you?