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Innovation – Relevancy to the Entrepreneur

AUTHOR | SARAI GARCIA

EDITOR | IRENE QIN


Overview

  • Intro to Innovation

  • Innovation vs. Invention

  • The Math

  • A Different Perspective on Change



Intro to Innovation


In L.I.T.E. holds Leadership, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship–each term containing a comprehensive guide of how these values can be implemented in professional and everyday life. The majority are able to discern these terms as they are read in a dictionary, very to the point and defined clearly. Leadership is a necessary part of any company, any nation. Identifying the director of an organization is simple enough–and there are always elements of leadership in every member, as everyone leads their own delegated task. Technology is inherently identifiable–it has its positive and negative effects on society, but everyone uses technology, no matter how simple or complex. Technology isn’t just iPads and BlendJets. It is also the stone tools used by early humans to craft additional tools. Entrepreneurship is the combination of various skills–management, networking, adaptability–all used to overcome the challenges of releasing something new.


Each term has their spotlight, however, one that is often overlooked is Innovation. Not to claim that innovation isn’t being performed. In fact, it’s done every day, often when people don’t realize its application–stacking dishes differently or upcycling thrifted clothes. The point being–exactly! People overlook how innovation is applied. One can easily tell if they’re leading a team, utilizing technology, or showcasing entrepreneurial skills. Each category possesses the math within, the logic, the commands, the code, and the rules. Innovation begins with imagination. And it may be the most important piece in being a successful entrepreneur.


Innovation vs. Invention


It’s difficult to call attention to the importance of a concept without first defining it. At Oceanside Perspective, we state that innovation is “the practical implementation of a new idea, product, or method in order to create something better to launch into the world.” A quick search for innovation in a thesaurus reveals its synonyms to include transformation, reconstruction, variation, and quite frankly the most frightening word anyone can fathom: change. People aren’t enthusiasts of change, but are big fans of progress. How can there be progress with no change?


“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” – Chinese Proverb

Most of the time, innovation is confused with another similar word: invention. They both share elements of the other, yet retain distinct differences in their finer details. Inventions are original, unique, never been done. The lightbulb, sewing machine, phone. Innovation is the process of creating something better to launch into the world–using what we already have. It is uncovering the value of something and investigating how to extract more value out of it, to never be satisfied, and to always continue seeking further wisdom. Inventions are one and done, short-term creative executions. Innovation is the endless search for knowledge and the long-term profit from new ideas created from what already existed.

And of course there are different types of innovation in business–Incremental, Architectural, Radical, and Disruptive–all categorized by whether an innovation utilizes new or already existing technology, as well as if it forms a new market or addresses a present market to be included in. Incremental innovation uses existing technology to improve the current market, while Disruptive innovation creates new technology to disrupt the existing market. Architectural innovation uses existing technology to create with the intention of reaching new markets, while Radical innovation uses new technology to establish new markets. Innovation can’t be put in a box. And yet it can.


The Math


The ironic part is–there is math in innovation, but not exactly in the way you’d think. In both psychology and business marketing classes, you’ve probably heard of the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. Created by E.M. Rogers in 1962, this theory contains a chart that optimizes how a new concept (or a renovated and reintroduced concept) diffuses through society. The concluding result of this idea dispersion is the majority of people accepting the foreign concept and adopting it, whether it be a service, product, or trend. The graph of this theory plays out as follows:


The initial 2.5% are Innovators, those who are more than eager to welcome the good, and not much convincing needs to be carried out. Early Adopters, who make up 13.5%, are simply interested in the change and find value in the product. These also have the potential to be parties or organizations with authoritative opinions within the industry or outside it. The 34% Early Majority adopt these ideas still fairly early, before the average person, but may require evidence of effective usage prior to getting on board. The other 34%, the Late Majority, must have evidence, as well as pre-existing success and vouchers in order to adopt. Lastly, the remaining 16% of Laggards are not proponents of change and are difficult to convince to adopt. They require much evidence and statistical, emotional, as well as credible sources to even attempt the new concept.


The influential factors that affect how well the innovation is received are more than just the market itself. Why are these also relevant to understand? Because understanding the curve of any population’s interest level–with or without the percentage numbers–reminds the innovator that being an entrepreneur is challenging. But may they also be reminded that the conjured innovation has at least the 2.5% chance to take off, interest an audience, and possibly even improve society for the better. 2.5% is still a considerable margin for success. An example of an innovation that has been renovated time and time again, with more and more success each time, is our beloved vehicles of transportation.


“I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you're going to innovate.” – Jeffrey Bezos (Amazon Founder & CEO)

A Different Perspective On Change


The first thing that California DMVs request on car registration forms–aside from the license plate–is the make and model of the new car. There are hundreds of sedans produced in the U.S., India, Japan, or China. But is it a Ford? Henry Ford’s famous line, “If I had asked the public what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse,” runs through many an entrepreneur’s mind. The first car would not have been invented if Ford cowered from change. We’d innovate a hundred different carriages and a faster breed of stallion, sure, but definitely not cars. We wouldn’t possess the luxury we do now, selecting from hundreds of sedans and a hundred makes as our first test vehicle. Without one innovation, one invention made greater, we wouldn’t have self-driving cars running wild in San Francisco after you call an Uber. We wouldn’t even have Uber. Fortunately, we live in a society today that embraces change and keeps an open mind to innovation. With the world expanding its mind, the only logical solution is to expand our imaginations as well. 


“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the U.S.)

Find innovation in your own abilities too. Challenge your skills, develop your leadership potential, find new ways to use technology, and take action. The biggest experience to take away from being an entrepreneur is to not be afraid of making your own opportunities.

Author's Bio

Sarai Garcia is a Business Management student currently still

enrolled, with plans to delve into the world of Human Resource and marketing. She believes that a new wave of entrepreneurs comes with a plethora of opportunities to unite communities under change, and band together to create a brighter, more efficient future.


Sarai currently puts her skills in advertising, digital design newsletter publishing, as well as column writing to use in inspirational non-profits like O.P. She loves leading organization projects as well as debate. She additionally enjoys podcasts, historical fiction, music production, and theatre.


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