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What is innovation?

And how can we make it part of our business?

A thing of nightmares or blessings?

Do you feel the pressure to innovate is always present within your company? Does it feel like a vague and at times even dire pressure? Somehow, we should all strive to be innovative. This will allow us to survive in volatile markets. So that the economic progress does not pass us by. So that we can be a step ahead of the competition. This is the only way to be successful. Those who are not successful, disappear. An increasing number of companies in traditional industries are afraid of losing their business because they can no longer compete. This is not exactly an atmosphere that promises creativity. Or is it? But what does it even mean to be innovative?

Literally derived from Latin, innovation simply means “renewal”. First, this requires an idea. But that is not enough, because this idea must be brought to fruition in order to become an innovation and to be successfully applied within a product, service, or process. Thought and action must therefore come together.

Necessity is the mother of invention

Even before Joseph Schumpeter coined the term “theory of innovations,” thereby adding significant pressure to the industry, historically there have always been times when a wave of new developments occurred. Interestingly, most of these times occurred when the social conditions were anything but ideal, such as in times of war and natural catastrophes, or in their wake. Maybe at the moment we just aren’t doing badly enough to be truly innovative? What does this mean for companies? Is it even possible to lure employees out of their comfort zones when they are not under the gun? How can we force our minds to diverge from the same old track when there is no existential threat? One thing can be said for sure: innovation on command does not work.

No innovation without social relevance

Even if passionately talented persons are working at a company (yes, they do exist, and they are called developers!), it doesn’t mean that innovation simply happens. For a successful innovation always has social relevance too, i.e., it benefits others.

It is, therefore, by no means complete merely through the creative act of innovating, and completes itself only through its interaction with users. It is therefore always the users who decide whether or not an idea becomes a successful innovation. Interestingly, users can even discover properties that their developer had not planned at all within an innovation, and thus increase its value.

Marketing makes ideas visible

So innovation needs a dialog between its creators and users: in other words, good marketing. If the users do not understand why an idea is great or if they quite simply believe they don’t need it, then it will disappear into oblivion.

Thus, successful innovation is always a mixture of ingenious invention, smart market communication, the recognition and satisfaction of customer requirements, and also good timing.

Why do innovations fail?

Conclusion: when you “consciously” innovate, you can fail on several fronts:

  • Genius inventing (few people are creative without great psychological strain)
  • Lack of understanding of the market (who needs my idea urgently?)
  • Understandable and inspiring communication (what good is my innovation if no one knows about it?)
  • Bad timing (“the world is not yet ready for it”)

What makes innovation more likely

We at TELE are of the opinion that innovation needs one thing above all else: openness.

  • Openness in the sense of cross-organizational networking and cooperation.
  • Openness in the sense of taboo-free information and communication.
  • Openness in the sense of mutual trust and respect as equals.

Continuously doing the same thing with the same people is boring. Meeting new people is exciting. Different experiences and views can create friction. If one meets these friction points with curiosity and respect, a creative spark can emerge that generates new impulses for all participants. That is why we are eager to cooperate with other people and organizations and inspire one another, as is the case in our FactoryHub Vienna.

Openness as a breeding ground

The best solutions arise when there are no secrets, and everyone contributes with what they do best. To do this, we have to put petty competition aside and place our focus on the greater good. We at TELE therefore disclose all data and information. Anyone can visit us and watch what we do here and receive uncensored answers to their questions.

This creates an environment of trust, and an atmosphere that makes you want to create something new together. To overcome boundaries. To broaden our minds. And who knows, maybe the next innovation to change the world is already around the corner. If you want to make this a reality together with us, then you should get in touch with us.

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