Applied Innovation

By Martin Gilliard

Applied innovation can refer to either 1) the process of learning innovation through the application of the innovation process in a controlled environment or it can refer to 2) simply providing the action to creative ideas.

1) The process of learning innovation through the application of the innovation process in a controlled environment. This can often take place in a team based workshop type environment.

The goal is often to provide a platform in which people can practice creative thinking, team work and apply new product innovation in a controlled and monitored environment in such a way that the gap between innovation theory and actual practice is reduced and therefore learning’s are more easily applied when the individual returns to their organisational environment.

Action based learning for many individuals proves to be more rewarding and memorable.

People learn to challenge the status quo, formulate new ideas, foster a culture of innovation and apply organisational best practices and work together to bring ideas to fruition.

applied innovation graphic

(Image Credit Flickr lumaxart)

2) Applied innovation is the application of innovation to creative ideas. Ideas can spend years sitting dormant in an organisation. Great ideas that are just sat there with no one willing to take responsibility and do anything with them.

That said innovation is not straightforward and to be successful it often requires a team of people stemming from different departments in the organisation to manage the effort. 

Often the teams will follow an appropriate innovation management process to help direct them to the production of their new innovative products or services. Creativity and ideas alone are not sufficient.

Many organisations feel that they lack creative talent however there is usually no shortage of creative people, what actually is lacking is people skilled in the innovation management process who can effectively implement an idea into a project which can be managed through to a successful conclusion.

Companies often over invest in the creativity arena without providing enough focus on improving core innovative abilities. For example funding courses on creativity techniques. It is incorrect to assume that improved creativity will automatically result in increased innovation.

Creative ideas usually need to be aligned with the organisations core strategic directions and then backed up with clear project implementation goals.


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