What is Innovation?
/ɪnəˈveɪʃ(ə)n/ ~ noun
The action or process of innovating, always simply referred to as new ideas, creative thoughts, new imaginations in form of device or method. The concept of innovation, is in itself innovative, as it runs through every stage of imagination, through design, all the way to devising stage.
What do the most innovative companies actually do?
I had a look at the list of the world's most innovative companies, 2018, you can take a look here, and I was so surprised to learn of the top 3, I mean we know about Salesforce, but what about ServiceNow and Workday. And if that's not surprising at all, don't be surprised to learn that the top three companies on this list are simply SAAS (software) companies.
If I were put in some sort of a situation room and asked to come up with three most innovative companies. From my understanding and experience, I mean I wouldn't even have to think twice about it, I'd say #1 on the list is Tesla.
So why is ServiceNow the most innovative company of 2018?
ServiceNow offers a platform that its ecosystem partners can either integrate with or run directly on. One key benefit is the same as well: the ability to leverage the data in ServiceNow’s Now Platform.
The central difference between Salesforce and ServiceNow, however, is profound. While Salesforce focuses on its customers’ sales data, ServiceNow focuses on routing work throughout the enterprise. ServiceNow’s original application was IT service management (ITSM), which at its core is a trouble-ticketing system that routes support requests internally through an organization. ~ Forbes
To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need. Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products.
In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied by the company in order to further satisfy the needs and expectations of the customers. ~ Business Dictionary
So the idea behind the most innovative Businesses, is their ability to continue finding ways to help improve the customer experience, always striving to give customers more value for their money.
Now, on reading and trying to understand the above description, I took a step back and went to find out, how innovative ServiceNow is, that actually warrants them to be the leader, as the most innovative company of 2018, and yes they are actually innovative. They have an extensive line of services that are linked in every aspect.
For instance ServiceNow offers every single solution a company would ever ask for, so then if you decided to use their services, for instance in IT department, then you wouldn't need to look elsewhere for HR services as this is also part of the solutions that they offer. This goes on even further and extends to Knowledge Management, I mean, think about it, Knowledge Management.So according to the above description, they are innovative.
Most at times when the word innovation is use, in context with business, you'd think of ideas revolving around coming up with ideas that have never been tried before, something like the initial idea behind Facebook, it was quite innovative to think of a world which was so connected and was only Facebook away. Through the innovation and discovery of Facebook, the social media came to life, and after all that has happened at Facebook, one may wonder, how it's still listed as the #10 Most Innovative Company of 2018.
Well I did further research on the same, and this is now a company that is no-longer only based on Facebook, I mean the Facebook we knew and loved in 2008.
So what makes Facebook innovative in 2018?
Facebook has so far ventured into advertisements and rolled out several new mobile ad formats, including full-screen, 360-degree video, and interactive ads that let users swipe, tilt, and zoom through carousels of images. And to help advertisers experiment with and make sense of these products, in November, 2017 Facebook debuted the Creative Hub, a platform for businesses and agencies to mock up, share, and test ads. This is Facebook trying to give its users more reasons to stick around, even though this is primarily directed towards Businesses.
Facebook is also enabling a more direct connection between online engagement and real-world commerce. Already some brands have used targeting to double the revenue yield from news-feed campaigns, such as when Celebrity Cruises showed users trip itineraries based on Facebook’s insights into where they were planning to visit. The next step is letting users complete the transaction without leaving the platform.
Lets have a look at Tesla
At this point of my quest, I was starting to realize deeply why these companies made it to the Forbes' list. And now I needed to understand why Tesla is #4 World's Most Innovative Company, 2018.
We all know that Tesla is an electric car company, and in my situation room above, I already accredited it #1. The reason I did that was based on the fact that Tesla is such a futuristic company. First, it's futuristic in the sense that it is a company I would describe as "environment-first company" then technology. What more innovation would you imagine if not receiving monthly software update in your car. It's your CAR we are talking about. And that's the only reason, 'cause at this point with all the environmental crisis we are facing, a company that works towards improving that, is outright innovative.
Also, besides Tesla's extensive line of vehicles, did I say affordable? They also offer Tesla Energy an even more eco-friendly solution.
When is the last time you and I did something innovative?
I am sure we've all done something innovative, or maybe not yet. It's worth noting that innovation goes beyond businesses and enterprise solutions. Innovations are divided into two broad categories:
- Evolutionary innovations (continuous or dynamic evolutionary innovation) that are brought about by many incremental advances in technology or processes and
- Revolutionary innovations (also called discontinuous innovations) which are often disruptive and new.
Innovation extends in all fields, besides business, we find innovation in Medicine, Transport, Education and Science fields, and it's through these forms and fields of innovation that we find categories such as
- The Worlds Most Innovative Countries.
- The World's Most Innovative Students
- The Worlds Most Innovative Persons
And now to talk about the reason, that drove me to write this article, how innovative are we, with everything that we do on our daily lives. Do we have a project that we believe would change how we do things, or simply a project that is not primarily directed towards making us rich. Something quite neutral in the sense that it puts the value of human advancements before anything else?
Innovation is something that is, in a sense has to be channeled through the environments that we live in, and thus for a country or a group to be innovative, the environment has to be able to allow for this to happen. For instance look at the most innovative countries, these are countries that their governments have enabled an environment that allows for and propagates innovation just as we are about to see below with a case-study of Sweden.
What makes a country most innovative?[Sweden]
A number of international indexes have been developed in a bid to measure the ability of countries to create environments that encourage innovation. According to them, Sweden is one of the most creative places on the map.
Sweden introduced elementary schooling for all as early as 1842, and the first university was founded back in 1477 in Uppsala, 15 years before Columbus set sail for America. Besides being distinctly antiauthoritarian, Swedish schools encourage creativity. Also, the arts have long been used to motivate and inspire children and young people and to provide a breeding ground for innovation.
Successful companies in the forestry, steel, automotive and engineering industries have driven the country’s economic development. Another major contributor is the pharmaceutical industry. In 2012, the volume of Sweden’s exports per capita was greater than that of China and the United States combined.
With less than 0.14 per cent of the global population, Sweden is highly dependent on the outside world. Historically, it is a free-trade nation in which politics and laws have encouraged openness to international influence. Exports and imports are vital to Sweden’s welfare, and international skills are welcome.
Economy and politics
Sweden has long had robust government finances in comparison with many other European states and is one of the world’s largest investors in research and development (R&D) relative to GDP. There is unanimous agreement among political parties that such investment is vital. In the fall of 2012, the government presented an innovation strategy that emphasized the importance of innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship for ensuring sustainable prosperity in the years to come.
Swedes are strong believers in co-operation, gender equality and diversity. This may have to do with the fact that the country is one of the oldest and most peaceful democracies in the world. Here, a constitutional monarchy blends with a stable parliamentary system, freedom of expression is laid down in the Constitution, and the principle of public access to official documents is designed to ensure that both politicians and officials work openly vis-à-vis the citizens they represent; the general public and the media are entitled to request access to government documents and papers, to examine correspondence and so forth.
Since Sweden is a geographically large country with a scattered population, infrastructure and communications have always been crucial to development. Early action to promote digitalization has meant that Sweden is now one of the most connected countries in the world with one of the highest rates of computer, internet and mobile penetration. As a result, the country is frequently used as a test market for new services and technology.
To conclude this, I am now convinced that for any of us to be innovative enough to allow a whole country to progress, then as we have seen with the case of Sweden, the country's leadership and primary decision making is key and directly responsible for this to happen.
And it's actually through this that you realize that most immigrants especially from harsh environments tend to do much better, because the environment that they move into, gives them one thing that they have lacked almost all their lives, the opportunity to progress in an environment that allows and supports their ideas.