One of the biggest misconceptions about innovation is that it is a modern concept. Previous discoveries tell us otherwise. For centuries, innovators have built on standard products and practices to create something new and exciting. However, novelty is only one characteristic of successful innovation. The other part that is often overlooked is utility.
Put more simply, innovation must be new and useful. It has to be original, but it won't be successful if people don't use it. Taking these two properties into account is essential to the success of a design.
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types of innovations
Innovation is not limited to products. There's no denying that Apple's transformative products have made it an industry giant. Still, it's important to remember that innovation has multiple applications in business. Here are three types of innovation your company can design and implement.
- Product or service innovation: This focuses on creating a new product, service, or product feature. Examples range from the internet to the pivoting head of Gillette razor blades.
- process innovation: This refers to changes made to make a process more efficient. For example, assembly lines were a breakthrough in manufacturing.
- business model innovation: This is when you transform business operations. An example of this are ride-sharing platforms such as Uber or Lyft. They took the business model of the taxi and car service companies and changed it to a digitized peer-to-peer model.
Although product innovation is only one type, much can be gleaned from analyzing past product innovations. This requires an understanding of what makes products innovative.
What makes a product innovative?
in the business world,Innovationis an original idea useful for consumers. But what does that mean, and how can you ensure that your idea contains these two essential ingredients?
One way is to identify and address the pain points your consumers are experiencing. There are two types of pain points innovation should address: explicit and latent.
- Explicit pain points: Customers are aware of these pain points and can easily define them.
- latent pain points: These pain points are more difficult to define because they are not known to most customers.
Innovative ideas that focus on user challenges have a better chance of success and longevity. Understanding the feasibility of your innovation can be more difficult than identifying pain points, but it's another crucial factor in the process.
Remember that innovation is not inherently modern. Netflix's streaming service is a successful innovative product, but one that is anchored in the modern world. Much older innovations, like the creation of language, are also instructive examples of how budding innovators should approach the creative process. Keep this in mind when looking for inspiration and guidance for your own innovation process.
9 innovative products
Recency bias—limiting your understanding of innovation to modern products and services—can be detrimental to the innovation process. Don't let a narrow view of what successful innovation is to negatively impact your creativity.
Here are nine incredibly successful innovations that have proven themselves.
1. The wheel
The wheel was made around 4000 BC. invented and is one of the earliest recorded innovations. Although often forgotten as an innovative product, it continues to make an impact. Its inventive design addresses a common pain point when moving multiple heavy objects at once. The result was a round frame that allows users to transport many heavy objects in a short amount of time. Its importance is still felt today and has led to other breakthroughs such as horse-drawn carriages and today's more modern methods of transportation.
2. The Printing Press
Your favorite book or magazine would not exist without the printing press. This technological breakthrough was novel and useful as it enabled the mass production of written documents. It solved an explicit pain point in document creation: time consumption and fatigue. Creating a product that eliminated the handwritten element changed the publishing world by making the process easier and faster.
3. The lightbulb
Although there is some debate as to who invented the lightbulb, no one disputes its importance. It's a great example of an innovative product that addresses both explicit and latent pain points. Before incandescent bulbs, products like lanterns and oil lamps produced light but made homes more susceptible to fire. Back then, these accidents were accepted as a necessary risk until innovation proved people wrong.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk would not be the business mogul he is today without the initial innovation of powered automobiles. The invention of the automobile in 1886 ushered in a major technological advance by focusing on the challenges of the transportation landscape such as: B. Fatigue from walking or cycling and tending to horses pulling carriages. Nowadays, horse-drawn carriages are almost obsolete beyond tourist attractions and services.
Computers have completely changed everyday life. From their humble beginnings of automating mathematical equations, computers have evolved and evolved according to users' ever-changing pain points. For example, computers were originally huge, spanning nearly 50 feet in length and weighing nearly five tons. Over time, their size and portability have reduced from desktop computers to laptops and smartphones.
6. Mobile Phones
While mobile phones also evolved, they first solved a specific problem for phone users: landlines were not portable. People were tied to house phones, beepers and payphones when they wanted to answer a call. Cell phones allowed users to take calls from anywhere. As more and more consumers bought mobile phones, this product solved latent problems related to safety outside the home and contacting in an emergency.
7. The Internet
The Internet is such a widespread product that it is hard to imagine life without it. In this way, it could be the most successful modern innovation. It was originally based on the phrase "information at your fingertips". Although access to information was limited for those with a library card, a basic cable connection, and a newspaper subscription, there was still the inconvenience of waiting for information. The internet solved this latent pain point by becoming a huge hub for instant knowledge and information.
8. Bagless vacuum cleaner
Bagless vacuums might seem like an odd addition to this list, but they're a great example of how simple updates to a product can impact an industry.James Dyson, an industrial designer, was frustrated with emptying his vacuum cleaner bags. They sometimes created clogs and debris that affected the vacuum's performance. With these weaknesses in mind, he built the first bagless vacuum cleaner. Since then, Dyson has revolutionized cleaning technology and continues to innovate while addressing its users' key pain points.
It's no surprise that Apple products are almost always mentioned in any discussion of innovation. The iPhone is a modern innovation that has revolutionized cell phone technology. As computers and cell phones continued to evolve, Steve Jobs understood that consumers' latent need for mobility and speed could not be met with a computer or phone alone. That led to the iPhone.
How to innovate in the modern world
Innovation is not just for inventors and entrepreneurs. It's not just for the workplace. In fact, adopting a design thinking mentality is an excellent way to encourage innovation as a regular practice.
Design thinkingis a user-centric, solution-based innovation approach. In the online courseDesign Thinking und Innovation, Harvard Business School Dean Srikant Datar touches on the principles of design thinking with thefour phases of the innovation framework:
- Clear up: Conduct research to clarify an issue and empathize with your target audience. The goal is to identify the key pain points and ensure that solutions are useful.
- ideas: Focus on idea generation to solve problems identified during research.
- Develop: Examine potential solutions generated during idea generation. Create prototypes to validate their effectiveness.
- To implement: Promote your innovation to key stakeholders and drive their adoption into the organization.
This approach provides structure to support your innovation process but does not require rigid adherence.Creative problem solvingMethods such as design thinking are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, they are roadmaps for the development of innovative products and services.
How to create an innovative product
The classification of products as "innovative" does not only apply to products like an iPhone or an electric car and does not require expert teams. Innovation can be accomplished by anyone with an original and useful idea.
The design thinking process is wonderfulResource for Innovationsin any size. Each phase is conducive to all forms of innovation and can guide you through the creation of your new product, service, process or business model. With the right tools, you can create something that will change the world for the better.
Want to learn more about how design thinking can help you innovate? Try our online courseDesign Thinking und Innovation, in which you will learn how to apply the design thinking framework to the innovation process.Interested in our otherEntrepreneurship and innovation courses? Download ourfree course flowchartto determine what best fits your goals.