Innovation is the development of new products, processes, or services that create value for a business or for its customers. In today’s fast-changing world that combines uncertainty, complexity, and unprecedented technological opportunities, the ability to innovate is a critically important ingredient that can make the difference between success or failure for a company.
Many of these opportunities are themselves created by the disruptive innovations of recent years. The advent of smartphones and social networks have created opportunities for countless new types of services, digital products, and business models. Similarly, the internet of things (IOT) has yielded vast new data streams for companies to harness for process improvements and other valuable innovations.
While it may seem like innovative companies or entrepreneurs are simply blessed with special creativity, turning a good idea into a profitable business requires more than just inspiration. Successful innovators actively cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset that helps them approach problem solving challenges from fresh angles. And both startups and established companies that seek to capture the benefits of innovation must put in place product development processes and other systems to ensure the flexibility and adaptability required to take advantage of these new opportunities.
Businesses of all sizes and across all industries need to be innovative to remain competitive in today’s ever-evolving global economy. Thus, a background in innovation can be a valuable asset for managerial roles at established companies seeking to foster this mindset in their employees and business development processes as well as the aspiring entrepreneurs looking to disrupt them.
In our globalized, interconnected world, innovation can yield opportunities for companies no matter where they are located. According to the Global Innovation Index, while the U.S., Switzerland, and Sweden rank as the most innovative companies in the world, South Korea is also in the top 10, and China, Vietnam, India, and the Philippines are all rising quickly up the rankings.
Absolutely. Innovation is a skill, and Coursera gives you opportunities to learn and practice this skill online. You can take courses and Specializations in innovation from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Virginia, Imperial College London, Copenhagen Business School, HEC Paris, and Macquarie University. And because Coursera lets you view and complete course materials on a flexible schedule, you can learn about innovation online from these world-class universities no matter what your time zone you live in.
People who are curious and creative are typically best suited for roles in innovation. People who enjoy coming up with new ideas for products and processes are also typically well suited for innovation roles. Those who are interested in entrepreneurship can be well suited to innovation, and people who enjoy solving problems and adding value to things can also fit well in this type of forward-thinking role. This type of role can also be a good fit for those who enjoy a challenge, such as finding a competitive advantage in an industry that’s already flooded with innovative products or services.
Learning innovation could be right for you if you’re interested in the idea of enacting change within your company, industry, or community. It could also be a good fit for you if you enjoy finding creative ways to do things or coming up with ideas for new products. Examples of things you could enjoy doing in this area include developing new business models, coming up with new ideas for products, and then developing a strategy to create the new products, and carrying it through the implementation phase to completion.
Product design prototyping and innovation strategy are two common career paths for people in innovation. Innovation consultants, business development leads, and new business development managers are some other typical professions that are based on innovation. In the area of marketing, digital transformation managers rely heavily on the use of innovation. Business coaches and AI consultants are two other career paths for someone in innovation. Additionally, there are hands-on professions that are suited to someone in innovation, such as customer experience researchers.
Startups and businesses that are going through changes typically hire people who have innovation backgrounds to bring in new ideas. Corporations might hire innovation teams to find and develop new business opportunities. Businesses of any size might hire business development specialists to find ways to enhance offerings. Government agencies could hire people with backgrounds in innovation to add unique perspectives to creative projects, and nonprofits could hire in the area of innovation for people to deliver fresh ideas on ways to help serve others. Additionally, tech-based companies can sometimes hire people with innovation skills to create new forms of technology.