To Innovate or Not to Innovate? That is the Question

Technological innovations are exciting, and happening quickly. For example, Google Glass was an exciting innovation during 2013. And now, in 2014, Samsung has announced that they are in the process of creating Galaxy Glass. These friendly competitions are fun to hear about and even more fun to purchase (if you can afford to comparison shop). But if you are involved in innovating, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself if your innovation creates value.

A recent Bay Area radio show posed the question:

Should Samsung have waited to create Galaxy Glass when Google Glass is not yet priced for the average consumer?

There may not be a straightforward answer to this question. Both of these businesses are competitive and strategic. So, they may be innovating to keep their businesses aligned with current technological trends. Whatever the answer may be, one of the main points to gather from that question is the idea that innovations need to create value.

Our definition of innovation is the optimization of selected ideas—where the value created exceeds the costs incurred.

Now you may be wondering how to measure value? That’s another complex question. To help you think about this, the next time you undertake an innovation journey, focus on these six forms of value that innovations can deliver. If you find that your innovation can create at least one of these, then you are on the right track and your innovation has some potential.

1)   Economic: becoming a more profitable enterprise with a more attractive ROI or improved opportunities.

2)   Strategic: gaining competitive advantage through learning and building new capabilities that can be leveraged for advantage in the future

3)   Social: becoming a better citizen by improving conditions, relationships, or the well-being of others

4)   Environmental: doing the right thing for your surroundings (i.e.; your community, the Earth’s environment) by making things cleaner, safer, more attractive, or more sustainable

5)   Aesthetic: creating a positive sensory-emotional response through elegant design

6)   Personal: improving the lives of those involved through learning, challenge, or improved work experiences by participating in innovation

Good luck on your next innovation journey. And if you are currently innovating, share what types of value you are creating by commenting below.


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