What Is the Innovation Process? (With Definition and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 29, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To manage a successful company, it's important to be analytical and inventive. Brainstorming, testing, and researching new concepts are critical components of the inventive process, and all employees can be a part of the process. Learning about the innovation process can help you in guiding a business through this phase. In this article, we explain what the innovation process is, discuss how to develop a creative process to benefit a company, review the benefits of doing so, identify some tips for implementing such a process, and review some types of innovation you can use at work.

What is the innovation process?

The innovation process, which some people refer to as the creative process, is the transformation of an idea into valuable products or services. In business, creative processes may make a company's goods or services more desirable to consumers and help it maintain a competitive advantage. Typically, this process has three stages, discovery, development, and commercialization. Large corporations often extend their processes of innovation by adding additional stages to assure the correctness and efficiency of new advancements.

Each creative process requires intelligence, the identification of possible difficulties, and the testing of alternative solutions to those problems. This is applicable to large-scale enterprises seeking to mass-produce a new product, but it may also be a very effective method for smaller businesses to generate new answers to challenging issues. The process may help establish new marketing tactics, rethink a product or service, investigate alternative manufacturing processes, or reorganize a company's structure. The creative process is important because it can:

  • Help a business adapt to change

  • Maximize the company's profit through expansion into different markets

  • Increase the competitive advantage in a specific market

  • Help address changes in customer preferences

  • Help the company's workplace dynamic grow and evolve

Related: How to Promote Creativity at Work (With Its Benefits)

How to develop an innovative process

The creative process may take on a variety of forms, depending on the size and objectives of a business. Here are several steps you can take to develop an innovative process in the workplace:

1. Make discoveries

It's best to devote most of the first stage of the creative process to discovery. During this phase, employees conduct brainstorming sessions to identify whether ideas are worth pursuing. Ideation, or the act of generating new ideas, plays a critical role in the discovery phase. For instance, ideation approaches, such as brainstorming and prototyping, may motivate employees to consider alternative solutions to challenges, experiment with new concepts, and share their findings with colleagues.

The discovery phase also allows you and your team to discuss different viewpoints, beliefs, and backgrounds in an open and honest manner. It also enables you to make real prototypes of ideas and concepts to aid in their visualization. Setting up a time for important conversations in a pleasant meeting area encourages your team to begin brainstorming. Brainstorming approaches to consider during the discovery phase of the creative process include:

  • Slip writing: The slip-writing process requires brainstorming participants to anonymously write down ideas on note cards or small pieces of paper that are then read aloud to the whole group.

  • Brain netting: Brain netting is a collaborative brainstorming process that occurs online. Participants usually submit their thoughts and ideas anonymously, and the whole group reviews them later.

  • Mind mapping: Mind mapping is the technique of visualizing how to produce ideas. Mind maps, which are often collaborative exercises, give a written record of how ideas form.

  • Reverse brainstorming: The reverse brainstorming technique asks participants to explore the causes of a problem before thinking about solutions to gain insight into how a problem emerged in the first place.

Related: 15 Innovation Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

2. Develop ideas

After your team comes up with an idea and prototypes it, you may go on to the development phase of the inventive process. This phase can contain actions that improve your ideas, such as comprehensive research, prototype testing, and gathering consumer feedback. You might also work on the following throughout the development phase:

  • Observing the manufacturing process to identify what works well and what may require improvement

  • Testing different tools and models during the production process

  • Identifying and selecting new suppliers if needed

  • Analyzing data and customer feedback to increase user satisfaction

  • Developing marketing strategies for the new product or service

  • Creating a budget to manage new expenses related to the project

  • Addressing any potential risks related to the new product or service

3. Commercialize products or services

Commercialization is the third and last step of the creative process. During this stage, you can focus on bringing the new product or service to market. To begin, develop a marketing strategy and get company-wide approval for your innovative concept. Then, you can launch the new product or service publicly and perfect manufacturing and production methods to ensure the goods go through production efficiently and accurately.

Benefits of using the process of innovation

By implementing the creative process in an organization, you may establish a step-by-step method for developing, prioritizing, and assessing ideas to put them into effect. Consistent use of the process may assist you in making better judgments, which may increase your efficiency, mitigate possible risks, and streamline the creation and adoption of new ideas. Other benefits of using the creative process at work include:

  • Gaining experience: When a business practises the innovative process repeatedly, it may be in a working position to increase productivity and efficiency when future needs arise.

  • Attracting new employees: The more innovative a company is, the more likely it is that creative individuals may want to work there.

  • Becoming a leader within the industry: Developing new ideas and bringing them to market can increase the company's competitive advantage within the industry and increase overall profitably in the long-term future.

  • Increasing visibility and name recognition: Innovation helps companies stay relevant and aware of customer desires, often resulting in an increased awareness of the company and the products or services it sells.

Tips for implementing the innovative process

Here are some tips for establishing the innovative process in your workplace:

  • Create room for the process: Determine that procedures and processes are in place to foster innovation. If the business is large, you may choose to establish a distinct department dedicated to developing new ideas, products, or services.

  • Encourage an innovative culture across the organization: Leadership can promote an innovative company culture. When everyone is aware of opportunities for bringing new ideas to management, the creative process may operate more effectively.

  • Remove roadblocks: If the company policies hamper innovation and progress, work to update them to keep employees motivated.

  • Recognize potential: You want employees to share objectives for improving the organization, whether via cooperation or individual effort. This may require them to identify their strengths and shortcomings and maximize their value to the organization.

  • Lead by example: Company leadership can set an example for its employees. If managers work creatively and are innovative, it may motivate others to do the same.

Types of innovation you can use at work

Here are some approaches you can try to encourage innovation at work:

Gradual innovation

Innovation begins with identifying areas or procedures that the team might be able to improve. You may identify a difficulty, no matter how small, and produce ideas to assist in overcoming it in a manner that benefits both you and the organization. Gradual innovation is about continuously improving the efficiency, productivity, and value of processes and services in the business. There are several opportunities for gradual innovation in the workplace.

Collaborative innovation

Once you've encountered an obstacle at work, seek others who are experiencing similar difficulties, such as team members or other colleagues. You may bring them together to assist in identifying answers to this problem. Once you've generated some ideas, focus them on the best ones and concentrate on improving them. Present your selected solution to a decision-maker within the organization who can assist you in implementing it. While innovative ideas may involve more effort, patience, or a total reassessment once adopted, they may offer value to the company and benefit many individuals.

Related: How to Be Innovative and Creative at Work (12 Easy Steps)

Creative innovation

One of the concepts that promotes creativity is innovation, and creative problem solving means using unique and imaginative methods to address a problem. Collaborative problem solving provides a framework for generating ideas and transforming them into viable solutions. The tools and procedures you employ for creative innovation assist you in structuring your team's perspectives and solving any challenges.

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