The Secret Sauce of Innovation

When most people think of innovation, a plate of French fries and ketchup is probably the last thing to pop into their minds. But ketchup – or rather any fine-tuned, sophisticated sauce – can have many parallels with what we perceive as innovation. You might not know the secret of the sauce used in your grandma’s favorite recipe, but in many ways, innovation is the “secret sauce” of success in technology and business.

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Innovation continues to radically impact almost every sector of the economy from retail and banking to manufacturing and technology, etc.

For example, in retail, the introduction of bar code scanners has made the process of billing lightning fast. And we’ve all seen the shift from physical banks to online payments and e-wallets. There’s also been a rise in online payments that enable contact-less transactions stemming from the coronavirus.

Demand within e-Commerce is also one of the major reasons for the explosion of e-Wallets. Most retail shops now accept payments via e-Wallets as well. Additionally, the 5G network is in the process of enabling high-data transfer rates and a few countries have already been rolling out the installation of 5G towers. In the near future, we might see 5G overtake the 4G network.

Innovation models: Managing innovation and your journey from ideas to user value creation

The one thing that is common among all this progress is the innovation process engine that works behind the scenes in making all this happen and the overall positive impact and changes in our lives that it brings. And just like a secret sauce, this innovation process can have many intriguing recipes – or innovation models – that can take your business to the next level.

We can look at innovation as a journey – it moves from an idea to a destination that creates value for users. In other words, it’s a model for managing innovation. In the early days, most innovations took place within manufacturing, but now many innovations take place in the service sector.

Typically, models of innovation comprise some variation of the following formula: Innovation = theoretical concept + technical invention + commercial exploitation

Let’s have a look at a few innovation models as they’ve evolved over the time.

Technology push model: Scientists often make unexpected discoveries – and then technologists find ways to develop product ideas from it. After that, engineers and designers turn it into prototypes for testing. This model is used to discover new ways of creating products efficiently.

Market pull model: This is a customer-need driven model that emphasizes the role of marketing as the initiator of new ideas. Resulting from closed interactions with customers, these are conveyed to R&D for design and engineering, and then on to manufacturing and production. In the fast-moving consumer goods sector, the role of marketing and customer feedback remains very influential.

Simultaneous coupling model: This is the simultaneous coupling of knowledge within all three functions that foster innovation. The three functions being R&D, marketing, and manufacturing. Additionally, the point of origin of innovation here is not known in advance.

Interactive model: This is a development of the simultaneous coupling framework that links both the technology push and market pull frameworks. It emphasizes the interaction between marketplace, science, and organization capabilities. This framework illustrates that there is no clear starting point. This implies that innovation can be created from a variety of areas, creating flexibility.

These models do not need to be exact recipes, but they can definitely help you get cooking on your innovation journey. In my next post, I’ll dive into the reinvention of innovation by global brands and how you can craft your own secret innovation sauce for your business.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to turn up the heat on innovation for your business – visit us here.