Innovation means to change, renew, and create more creative and better products, process or ways of doing things. It is also defined as a process through which the social and economic value is extracted from knowledge by developing, implementing and generating ideas that produce improved or new products, strategies, processes or services (Sloane, 2012).
Innovation versus Creativity
While innovation leads to observable improvement in services, products and ways of doing things, creativity refers to ability of coming up with original and new ideas. Such ideas on their own do not have any value and the value is only realized after they get implemented. As such, creativity is an important precursor to innovation. An example that is practical demonstrating difference between innovation and creativity is a meeting that is held by organization members (Sloane, 2012).
There are numerous challenges that organizations face and their goals are highlighted while those in attendance come up with ideas on how they can make progress within the organization. Ability of members to come up with ideas that are original in order to solve problems as well as achieve goals of the company demonstrate creativity. After these ideas are proposed, they are developed then implemented so they can have value. The process of implementing and developing ideas is what innovation constitutes (Sloane, 2012). The difference therefore, between creativity and innovation is that action is part of innovation and not creativity.
Innovation in Medicine
Innovation in medicine, according to Medical Innovation in the Changing Healthcare Marketplace (2002) is two-pronged. The first aspect of medical innovation involves coming up with some new diagnostics, therapeutic procedures and devices as well or improvement. Innovation must occur in these two areas for the benefits in medicine to be fully realized. Innovation in implants and drugs are closely linked to innovation in medicine though they are classified differently. It is far easier for innovation in implants and drugs to take place as compared to medical innovation. This is due to the fact innovation in drugs us far less costly to have any effect than mainstream medical innovation.
Medical innovation can mean varying things to varying societies. In developed nations like the US, it can be interpreted as invention of new sophisticated technology that improves health. In middle and lower-income countries, medical innovation is measured and judged in terms of distinct needs. In such countries, application of technology without understanding or identifying the most compelling needs of the population could result to failure in medical innovation (Leonard, 2011). True medical innovation for such regions require addressing and assessing unmet need in a cost effective and friendly manner. Medical innovation must as well be applicable to remote regions that have limited access to resources and workable with untrained and trained personnel.
Types of Innovation
In any field, innovation can be either radical or incremental. Incremental innovation involves improvement of services, products or processes within an organization. Mostly, it involves identification of the problems with existing set up as well as fixing them. On the other hand, radical innovation entails complete abandonment of familiar ways of doing things as well as finding an entirely different and new set up. Radical innovations are not only very risky but difficult to implement. Majority of persons in positions of leadership within an organization find it easy to implement incremental innovation as compared to carrying out radical innovation (Sloane, 2012). An incremental innovation example in medicine would include coming up with means that are less intrusive of disposing ailment or improving treatment effectiveness. Radical innovation in medicine might also include finding procedures that are entirely new of treating disease like the use of nanotechnology to fight cancer instead of using chemotherapy.
Incremental innovation as well as the benefit of making services, processes and products improvement as such, increasing their value. Radical innovation aids an organization to move with technological advances and removes risk of an organization producing services or products that are obsolete and from use of processes that are outdated (Sloane, 2012).
There are various sources that inspire innovation. It might result from the focus of creating new ideas as it happens in institutions of research r by accident, as is the case with numerous inventions, like NutraSweet and the microwave. The values or requirements that are conflicting in relation to a product could lead to product innovation to satisfy opposing notions at the same time. Process needs might also lead to innovation just as is the case of lack of skilled workers in the US during the 19th and 20th century which led to products standardization and labor division in industries. Some of the other sources include the demographics, changes in the new knowledge, industry and market structure as well as perception.
Long term survival of an organization is dependent on innovation. Organization leaders, therefore have the mandate of nurturing creativity among members of an organization, ultimately leading to innovation. Leaders who are receptive to new ideas, open minded and flexible have a higher possibility of encouraging innovation in their organizations. As earlier mentioned, majority of leaders are often good at implementation of incremental innovation rather than radical innovation. As such, they are supposed to give their juniors a chance to manage implementation of radical innovations since juniors have hands-on experience.
Often, creativity and innovation are used interchangeably. While this is wrong, it points out the fact both are related closely and they cannot be effective without each other. Creativity is an internal process occurring in the mind of a person while innovation is an eternal phenomenon. Without creativity, no innovation can exist and without innovation, creativity would not have any value.
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Leonard, S. (2011). Defining Medical Device Innovation in a Global Arena. MedTech Pulse Blog. Retrieved from: <http://www.qmed.com/mpmn/medtechpulse/defining-medical-device-innovation-global-arena>
Medical Innovation in the Changing Healthcare Marketplace: Conference Summary. (2002). the Characteristics of Medical Innovation.Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Sloane, P. (2012). What’s the Difference between Creativity and Innovation? Innovationexcellence.com. Retrieved from <http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2012/08/04/whats-the-difference-between-creativity-and-innovation/>