Let’s take the photographic industry as an example. Digital cameras with memory cards or compact discs for storing snapshots have long been replaced by powerful smartphones and cloud storage. However, the example of Kodak also demonstrates that even a stroke of genius like the invention of the digital camera is not a permanent innovation; determination is needed to develop from a creative idea products or services that win over customers. In order to bring products to the market, investors and companies are needed to take on the business risk.
Only when an innovation has beaten existing solutions on the market and has found people willing to buy it can it really be called an innovation. And even if great inventions still involved a large amount of luck, nowadays it is all about systematic innovation management. Dead ends identified in market tests are also taken into account here, and alternatives developed in parallel don’t work either. An important element of a successful innovation culture is “failing forward”, i.e. learning quickly from failures and moving on with renewed
Alongside disruptive changes that turn all that stood before on its head and create completely new kinds of products or services based on digital technologies, incremental improvements are also justified. Both approaches complement each other and form an innovation balance, the gradual improvement focusing on making existing products or services more competitive by reducing the manufacturing costs or optimising characteristics and processes.