What is technology innovation?

10 Jul 2013 by Scott Middleton

To understand what “technology innovation” is I first want to clearly define what innovation is. Innovation is that elusive thing that every company wants to be doing and today it often requires technology. Google gives all of its engineers a day a week to innovate, Commonwealth Bank and Optus put on extravagant innovation conferences and growing companies seek it out so that they can become the next Google or Commonwealth Bank.

But, what does innovation really mean in the context of business? The best two definitions I’ve come across are:

“Innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), process, new marketing method or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations.”
– The Oslo Manual, OECD and European Commission.

“Innovation is [an] act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth”
– Peter Drucker (renowned management guru)

The common theme running through these two definitions, and most others, is doing something that creates value. Thus, technology innovation is doing something that creates value with technology.

Ignore academic straight-jackets and those that believe only a Silicon Valley company like Google or Apple can be labelled as innovative. If you get down to basics, then any company can innovate, as any company can do something new that creates value using technology.

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