By Jacopo Filippo Bargellini, International Programs Faculty Member
Today the word innovation is so used that it is often abused without a correct understanding of its meaning.
Furthermore, in most cases, it is associated with an invention, with a product, with a technology, thus greatly limiting its scope and value. Innovation differs from the simple invention in that it needs to be successfully implemented, which is to say it has to be operational and really satisfy the needs for which it was created.
First of all, it must be clarified that innovation is not a single moment, an exploit, but a continuous process of improvement, and this is all the more true when it comes to so-called "innovative" companies, where the company often makes innovative products but is not generally innovative. To give an all-inclusive definition, innovation can be defined as: "Any initiative that makes the company progress improving the system and creating benefits for the customers".
From this we can see how the concept of innovation goes far beyond the simple placing on the market of new products and services. In fact, no type of innovation can be successful if it is not part of a system logic.
Therefore the first thing to do, to create innovation, is to analyze the system in which the company lives and works: business characteristics, excellence and peculiarities, production capacity and reference market, need to be met, as well as new market opportunities and stakeholders need to be involved.
Today innovation is more than ever the result of operational and organizational synergies that allow, at the same time, to create an innovative product and better modify the system in which this product will operate. It is not enough to invent the electric car, it takes batteries, charging stations, sustainable electricity production plants, customers who share an ecological vision, governments that support initiatives, cities that adapt to the news. Innovation must be global.