How innovation works- part 2- Sources of innovation #business #startup #personalgrowth

Reading time- 3 minutes.

Category – Business

Innovation is elixir of life of any business.

It keeps organization young and kicking.

What is innovation?

It is anything that adds value to organisation in terms of money or services.



So where does it arise.

Does it arise after efforts or spontaneously.


1. Lab –

R and D labs are the places supposed to churn out frequent innovations. Big corporations have dedicated labs with significant financial inputs. They are not very highly productive but they produce great things sometimes.

All important drugs for treating diseases come out of these labs.

Rockets out of Spacex lab.

New LED from Cree laboratory.

Vaccines from Pasteur institute.

2. Accidents

Hit and trial is the mother of significant number of inventions. It happens everywhere, all the time. It happens even in highly sophisticated labs. Trick is to catch idea flowing out of these mistakes.


There are so many accidental discoveries.

Pfizer company made drug for heart which dilated heart vessels. But it prolonged erections as a side effect. This was noted and used with great success to treat erectile dysfunction.

Spencer Silver worked at 3 M lab. He made glue that was less sticky and of no use at first glance. His boss didn’t like it and asked him to tidy up.

But after few years he realised it’s possible use and made highly successful stick it notes.

Story of accidental discovery of Penicillin is widely known. In contaminated culture plates fungus grew and it inhibited growth of bacteria. This was picked up by Sir Alexander Fleming. And this started new era in medicine.

3. Customer

Sometimes companies innovate to fit their product into the comfort level of customer.

IKEA built big business of home furniture which was based on cheaper furniture which was to be assembled by buyer. It gave customer feeling of accomplishment, when they joined furniture parts. It saved costs for IKEA and made furniture more affordable.

Readymade cake mixtures, noodles voluntarily leave few steps on customers end, to increase interest in the process and final product.

4. Complimentary collaboration-

A business needs many small ones to complete it. Big company cannot make everything. Somebody has to made accessories, apps, decorations and protection in form of covers and product Insurance.

Examples are Car and phone accessories.

Apps for Google Play Store and Apple store.

Bluetooth speakers for music apps and movies.

Ebooks for kindle readers.

Phone damage protection insurance covers.

5. Community-

Sometimes whole community can participate in innovative ideas.

Example is Wikipedia which is open platform where common people can contribute articles. It is very useful and very big.

Tiktok video maker. Anybody can make and edit small videos on tiktok app. This has led to production of many videos ( mostly irritating) but people love it. ( Before Covid lead to widespread backlash on Chinese products

Similar thing happens on Instagram and wordpress blogs. Company provides a platform where massess innovate and contribute.

6. Open end –

When many organisations work together to furthur enhance a discovery.

Like outsourcing or buying patents from others.

Tesla recently made its electric car patents available for other car makers, so that non polluted future can be accelerated.

Open source softwares which anybody can modify and code like twitter and APIs – Application programming interface.

Finnish student Todvalds started building Linux as s project in 1991, which is general public accessible and programmable computer language. It became very large by contributing coders from all over the world.

So, what are you looking for.

Innovation can occur anywhere.

Inspiration – Innovation mandate by Nicholas Webb

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