We explain what innovation is, and discuss its characteristics. In addition, we explore the phases of the innovation process, its importance for a country, and more.
What is innovation?
Innovation is the action of changing or transforming something in order to obtain an improvement or novelty. The term innovate comes from Latin, meaning "improve" or "renew" and refers to "introducing something new".
Innovation involves simplifying an object or process through the use of advanced technology or newly acquired knowledge. Innovation can take place in technology, medicine, social affairs or in management, among other fields.
- See also: Planning
Characteristics of innovation
The main characteristics of innovation are:
- It involves modifications or changes to objects, processes or methods.
- It arises from the need to find solutions to a problem.
- It allows for the optimization of tasks performed by humans through the use of technology.
- It facilitates tasks, procedures and production processes in organizations.
- It involves the use of knowledge, creativity, design and technology to bring about changes or new findings.
Phases of the innovation process
The main phases of the innovation process are:
- Identify a problem. When faced with issues or situations that require change, we can think of ideas to improve that situation. Ideas can arise spontaneously or can be worked out to find a solution to a specific problem.
- Build a team. The integration of people from different areas into a multidisciplinary team can optimize work during the innovation process and can help detect various opportunities.
- Develop ideas or solutions. Solutions or ideas should be analyzed creatively. In addition, the creation of mock-up models, prototypes, or tests helps to better materialize proposals and minimize errors.
Importance of innovation for a country
Innovation is a key factor for the growth and development of a nation, as well as for it to be competent globally. It is a dynamic process that applies science and technology for the development of the product market and society:
- Product market. Through companies which seek to become increasingly competitive and improve products, services, and production systems.
- Social development. Through national research centers and academic institutions, which seek to improve the quality of people's health, education, and life in general.
For example, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have invested resources and achieved great technological advances, but their level of innovation still remains far below countries like the United States, Switzerland, or Korea.
The scientific and technological development capacity of a country is key to designing mechanisms and strategies that promote inclusive and sustainable innovations.
Advantages and disadvantages of innovation
The innovation process is complex and depends on multiple factors, such as how knowledgeable the people involved are, the money needed for investment, dedication, and time.
Main advantages of innovation
- It provides comfort and improvement in everyday life.
- It brings about progress in health, food, education, and the economy of societies.
- It helps improve the operational quality of companies and organizations.
- It introduces sophisticated production and supply systems worldwide.
Main disadvantages of innovation
- It requires large sums of money to invest both in human resources and supply inputs.
- It requires time and is often difficult to estimate the length of a process until the expected solution is produced.
- Once the innovation process has been completed, the expected result may not have been obtained, representing a loss both of the money and time invested.
- It replaces traditional and artisanal production systems.
- Fundamentos del comportamiento organizacional. Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2009). 13ra. (pp. 56-58). Edición. Pearson. México.
- "Types of innovation: what are they, and how". Sydle (2022).
- "Acerca de innovación, ciencia y tecnología". CEPAL Naciones Unidas.
- "Innovación tecnológica: qué tipos existen y cuáles son sus beneficios". Santander universidades (2021).