The social approach to Innovation

By J. Aditya, Asst.Professor of WSB

What comes to our mind when we think of innovation ? When we come across the term innovation, we often think of it as something that is cutting edge or a technological innovation. But innovation is not just restricted to this aspect. Innovation is boundless.

A successful or a sound innovation is something that solves existing problems in our society or in the world. Therefore, innovation can also be applied to the betterment of mundane services such as enhancement of the education system or improving the lives of the deprived.

Some pertinent questions every innovator should ask are “ What are we doing to enhance the lives of the people ?” “How are we creating a balance in the society? Are our activities contributing anything towards advancement of a civilization?

The answers to these questions irrespective of positive or negative do not indicate whether we are innovative. Results in no way indicate the intensity of our innovation. There are some ideas that may be abstract and intricate to put into action, but those same ideas may be the ultimate solutions to our biggest problems.

Therefore, I propose the 3 “I”s of innovation : Ideation, Intensity and Intention. Ideation and Intensity obviously seem important. However, Intention is equally an important aspect because it bridges the gap between actions and thoughts. Some thoughts may not provide immediate results and are difficult to put into action. They often seem farfetched. However, the intention or the purpose of those thoughts are beneficial and fruitful with help of an efficient platform and tools ( Ex: Elon Musk’s idea to take humans to the Mars to balance the planet earth or fighting against the oil industry).

In any organization, the tasks or actions pertaining to Innovation should be cross-functional in orientation and any employee should not hesitate to completely reimagine the company’s business model. Silos should be avoided at any cost in order to have a systematic flow of innovative thoughts across all the functions of the organization. This ensures that there is arsenal of innovation tools in an organization. Finally, organizations must be able to gauge the transformational impact of an array of innovative ideas.