Innovation in business

Innovation in business

Listen to the business podcast about innovation to practise and improve your listening skills.

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Welcome to today's Business4U podcast. The focus of this podcast is to think about innovation and why it's important, and also to look at different types and stages of innovation. By the end of it, you will hopefully have a better grasp of the topic of innovation and be able to better understand and drive innovation in both your working and personal lives.

So, why is innovation important? Well, simply put, without innovation it would be difficult to make progress. Organisations and societies would stagnate. Innovation is what drives us forward. It's what forces us to compete in the business world. It's what leads to better products and services, and solutions to new and existing problems. From a business point of view, it's also something which is necessary for survival.

Four key types of innovation are incremental, disruptive, architectural and radical.

Incremental innovation involves innovating in increments, or small stages. Step by step. It focuses on existing markets and technologies and aims to make improvements and design changes to existing products and services.

Disruptive innovation aims to bring new ideas, like technology or processes, to existing markets. In that sense, the innovations will disrupt the market and the companies currently serving that market. The first touchscreen smartphones disrupted the mobile phone industry because up to then, mobile phones had buttons and keypads.

Architectural innovation involves taking successful ideas from one market or industry and applying them to a new or different market. This often happens when people think of other unconventional uses of existing technology. A good example of this can be seen in vacuum company Dyson's entry into the hand dryer and hairdryer market. Their advanced airflow technology from their vacuum cleaners was applied in reverse to machines that blow out air. In the case of these examples, it's personal hairdryers and hand dryers in public toilets.

And finally, we come to radical innovation. This is where a completely new idea is created for a market that doesn't exist yet. It's often what we think of when we think of innovation and it often swallows up existing markets. For example, the birth and growth of digital and downloadable music has practically led to the death of music CDs, and even DVDs. Similarly, film and TV streaming services may lead to the demise of traditional TV within a few short years.

Moving on from types of innovation, let's have a quick look at five key stages of innovation.

The first stage is Idea generation. This is where you think of the initial idea and develop it into a more detailed proposal or plan.

The next stage is Support. You need to check if you can get support for it, for example from senior leaders or stakeholders in your company. If you're innovating in your personal life, then the support you might need could be from friends or family. Do they think it's a good idea and do they think it would work?

The third step is to Experiment and test out the idea. This could mean creating a sample or a prototype of it, if it's a product. Or if it's a service, you could test out a basic version of it.

The fourth step is Evaluation. You need to assess how successful your experiments were and what chances of larger success your idea will have.

And finally, you then need to actually Implement your idea. That's the fifth stage.

So, there you have it. We've looked at four key types of innovation: incremental, disruptive, architectural and radical, and also five stages of successful innovation: firstly, idea generation. Then, get support. Next, experiment and test out the idea. The fourth stage is evaluation and finally implementation.


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Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Thu, 14/10/2021 - 16:22


There are many examples of innovation in the world by different organisations,persons.
I think this innovation should be balanced, alas have sustainable innovation is required.
In this world many countries is trying to best disastrous weapons.
There is competition among nations to become more powerful in military.
I think there should be peace, no competition among nations.
We innovate things who make our world developed.

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Submitted by Hennadii on Wed, 19/05/2021 - 17:45

The first thing that comes to mind is smartphones. And not because they have big screens and don't have buttons (actually they have) but because of their access to the Internet. It changed everything - all our life. Now we live in the world of shops, education, and work in our pockets. Smartphones created a bunch of new businesses where millions of people work. For example, targeting ads, ordering food, goods, or other stuff online. Now we can book a room in a hotel in another country just by phone and no worrying about linguistic divide and expensive calls abroad - many sites translate hotel offers to your local language. You also can pay online using your local money without paper ones. The same way we order taxis or book our next flight. I'm that guy that still remembers the days when phones were wired to the spot and I'm still excited about the new possibilities that give us smartphones with the internet.
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Submitted by El Cuy Mágico on Thu, 18/02/2021 - 00:31

It was hard to think some examples but I could. 1- Incremental innovation, I think Johnny Walker is a good example of it, this brand has two hundred years of history and it has changed step by step but its main product its still Whisky. 2- Disruptive innovation: Flat screen televisions and smart TVs innovated the market using new technology. 3- Architectural innovation: Im not sure but I guess that all wheel drive technology was make to the war or transportation industry but then they adapted it to Rally cars but I am not sure if it could be considered like an industry. 4- Radical innovation: Whit the birth of Netflix the company Blockbuster has disappeared.
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Submitted by jogrereco on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 15:43

Innovation is not invention, it means to improve something that already exists. The improvement could be disruptive (deep change), Architectural (some slight changes) or radical which means a big and new change.

Submitted by Vadim_SPb on Fri, 18/12/2020 - 22:25

Hello everyone! It was exciting to find the examples of different types of innovation. So here they are: 1. Incremental Innovation. A good example of it in my opinion is the Gillette Corporation. First prototype of razor was created in 1900. Now it's improved to the razor with a number of degrees of freedom and with heating. But it's still a razor and still a thing. 2. Disruptive innovation. I think Kodak Company with it's film-type cameras is a victim of technical progress. The irony is that the inventor of digital photo was engineer working in the same company. 3. Architectural innovattion. In my point of view an example of it is electric scooter. We had kick scooter before, lithium batteries and electric drive. But some years before all of them were assembled together and caused resonance at the market. Now it's fast-growing market of rental electric scooters in Europe and in Russia. 4. Radical innovation. One of the examples of it are quadcopters. Now it's widely used by video operators. It's also used by army in wars. Even twenty years before it was hard to imagine.

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Thu, 01/10/2020 - 23:33

Innovation could be defined as a new way to do something or even improving something to make a better version about it. Nowadays companies are searching constantly new ways to improve their process for themselves doing it more competitive because the globalization, and the new technological era demanded more changes in order to satisfy a set of preferences to the marketplace. Therefore it is mandatory to evolve if the idea is survive in a wild world that devour fiercely who is not prepared for the competition.

Submitted by Vixy on Thu, 17/09/2020 - 10:29

Innovation is a wide spread buzzword in technology industry. Companies try to find the best ideas which can help them grow bigger and bigger. There are departments and labs which are responsible for innovation. They employ creative people, apply researches and methods and analyze data to find the niche in the industry. There are a huge amount of appealing pictures, videos and articles about these peoples who hold workshops and brainstorming meetings with post-its and look very-very creative and unique. But if you step back you can see the reality behind the scenes. There are consequences of this ongoing innovation seeking attitude, such as burning out syndrome or creating machines which are not for you but for making money for the investors. In conclusion, we have to be careful of innovation even if it seems a good way of doing it.

Submitted by MUHAMMAD ALIF … on Thu, 19/09/2019 - 08:23

I have completed the following lessons of A job interview, Introverts – redressing the balance, and Innovation in business. The level that I chose was Advance C1 Listening.
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Submitted by Hoàng Nhung on Thu, 05/09/2019 - 09:09

Four examples about innovation: 1. Incremental innovation: A pen, a writing instrument. I don't know when a pen appeared, i have just known that a quill pen had appeared for a very long time, from a quill pen to a dip pen to a ballpoint pen. 2. Disruptive innovation: The typing industry. Computer disrupted the typewriter. Computer have a screen and keypads and we can listen to music from computer. 3. Architectural innovation: We can see a bamboo fan, a paper fan, an electric fan, an air cooling fan and air conditioner. 4. Radical innovation: Thanks to the internet, we can chatting face to face although far away. After reading and doing excercise, I feel I have to writing more and more. This lesson is not easy to me. I have to learn more