The Innovation Framework [Draft Report]
By Chisulo Brian
Question: What parameters does Zambia Development Agency have to measure Innovation?
The purpose of this research is to basically estimate to what level innovation is in Zambia and if at all measures such as a framework are in place. Innovation generally refers to renewing, changing or creating more effective processes, products or ways of doing things. For businesses, this could mean implementing new ideas, creating dynamic products or improving your existing services. Innovation can be a catalyst for the growth and success of your business, and help you adapt and grow in the marketplace. Being innovative does not mean inventing; innovation can mean changing your business model and adapting to changes in your environment to deliver better products or services. Successful innovation should be an in-built part of your business strategy and the strategic vision, where you create an environment and lead in innovative thinking and creative problem solving. 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. In a social context, innovation helps create new methods for alliance creation, joint venturing, flexible work hours, and creation of buyers' purchasing power. Innovations are divided into two broad categories:
In the past, many organisations recognized the importance of innovation but treated it as a phenomenon that ‘just happened’, classically being relegated at arm’s length to a "R&D department". There was a view that innovation was not something that needed direct engagement or scrutiny at CEO/Board level, and that it was not amenable to being managed. Dislocation of innovation projects from business strategy and operational management led to misdirection of resources and missed opportunities. Where innovation happened it could be * incoherent with business strategy and other company assets, * have faulty analysis of end-market value,
* And require considerable investment before early adopters could be found. As a result some organisations realised that the hit rate from dedicated R&D departments was too low, and looked to different models to get more value relevance from innovation investment. Examples include Philips and their Innovation Campus concept, Procter & Gambol directly engaging end-users, Lego and their approach to open innovation. Another misconception was seeing innovation as being exclusively discovery driven, rather than a mutual act of creativity between technology, process, markets and people. Undoubtedly, discovery-driven innovation is important, especially so in markets like pharmacy where the relationship between the discovery (a new agent) and the market (health industry) is straight-forward. But in most markets value is created by a combination of advances in different technologies coupled with deep engagement to a problem domain and its end-users, and can involve many intermediate steps, including shaping the intended market. Put in another way, the potential value of an invention is very difficult to assess unless it fits easily into an existing product base; potential value can only be estimated once a tangible innovation takes place (i.e. a real problem or opportunity is in sight). The classic examples of problem-driven innovation are the rapid advances made through...