What Is Innovation?

I had the opportunity to ask two people who are highly engaged in innovation and ask what they think about innovation and how they define it. The first one was Josh Meyer who is responsible for Global Financial Services at Accenture; I asked him after a speech in Cologne how is his definition of innovation. The second one was Kang Gi-Nam during a convention in Seoul, Korea. Kang Gi-Nam is responsible for the innovation division of Kepco (Korea Electric Power Corporation).

1. Break things

Josh Meyer defined innovation as “breaking things”, so breaking down things in their components and thinking about what is the core thing that holds it together? Can we change this core thing or do it in another way, in a better way? Are there any chances to test it with other people or companies? Can you also do this core value in another way than it is used to be done? In an easier or an effective way? These are questions you should ask yourself if you want to break the thing in order to innovate.

2. Flip things

Kang Gi-Nam is Senior Manager and responsible for Innovative Business Planning and Strategy Division in Kepco (Korea Electric Power Corporation). My wife and I were in Seoul and visited an exhibition in Gangnam and there I had the opportunity to meet and speak with him. His first definition of innovation was flipping things. Flipping or changing the problem or the topic in order to create innovation. So what is it that you`re worried about or that doesn`t work? What could be a game changer when it comes to this problem? Or to use the terms of Brendon Burchard (who was responsible for Change Management at Accenture); how can you 10x the whole thing? What would bring your to the next level in order not only to solve this problem for you but also for other people?

3. Increment and improve

The second definition of Kang Gi-Nam was to improve products or services one step by another. Some kind of incremental improvement of the product with the thinking that it has not to be perfect at the beginning. It is the opposite thinking to the flipping method that you`re more analyzing the situation and thinking in terms of how can we improve this product or service for our customer?

These methods sound easy but the implementation can take long hours. What you need is a good team and brainstorming seasons not only with your stuff but also with your customer. There is this need not only of surveys answered by your customers but also long conversations with your customers in order to understand their needs and wishes. If you do your homework and implement these methods innovation is always possible.

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Ceyhun Yakup Özkardes is the creator of the online course Author-preneur — How to publish, market and sell your own book where he teaches marketing and selling strategies for authors.