Friday 18 September 2020

The New Buzzword

If someone asks you, there is this word that either excites your senses or scares the life out of you. It has become such a prevalent verb used a lot by government officials, bosses and techies. It has the connotation that one must have a creative mind. Or there must be much resources at your disposal before an idea becomes feasible. Or it's somewhat binary where you do well or simply cannot do. There's really no in between, either you succeed or fail. The word is "Innovate".

In a recent conversation, I came away with a new perspective on how to view this. When you are given a task to innovate, often the approach is to create something new, like ditching a regular phone and in its place, make a smart phone. This is product innovation and probably most commonly heard. An "upgraded" version of innovate is to take the smart phone and find ways to produce it cheaper or add new functions to increase its appeal. This is known as process innovation. Yet another way is to improve the smart phone's sales probability by providing better marketing channels, technical support and delivery time. This is service innovation. The first two types deal with internal stakeholders while the last deals with the external.

Which of the above is the most difficult type of innovation? I think it's product innovation. I also have a feeling that most people correlate innovation with product creation. From a petrol driven vehicle to a fully electric one, this innovation leap is usually onerous and time consuming. That's what a person immediately feels upon hearing that dreaded word. He is defeated before work has even begun. I see much of this in my workplace. Hopefully, I would be able to share this new thinking with more people next time and reduce the stigma of what it means to innovate.

Tip: Masumi Sanka Junmai Daiginjo

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