Can it be possible to innovate without new technology support?

English: Base of the LiveWire Innovation Techn...
English: Base of the LiveWire Innovation Technology. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The word innovation in a wide sense is not related to technology only, but when we are talking about innovation related to business, this assumption can be more questionable.

Traditionally, innovation in businesses has been divided into product innovation, process innovation and organizational innovation.

Product innovation is always considered as a change of some kind of hardware or software, then, it can be got through a technology change. When new products do not involve a change of the incorporated technology we cannot consider that those products are innovative. There is a strong difference between an innovative product and the result of a restyling. But, even in that case, a new restyling of a product is usually supported by physical changes of the productive process and the use of design computer programs, although the new product was not innovative, there is always technology involved in the process of design, development and production.

Process innovation is usually considered when we are talking about changes of the productive processes, in that case, changes, in most cases, requires some kind of technology change. Changes of support processes are usually considered a kind of organizational innovation.

Related to organizational innovation, it is true that in this case technology is not the reason of the innovation, but nowadays, it is very difficult to implement any organizational innovation without any IT technology support. For instance, although we can imagine new ways of managing client and providers, the implementation of the new ideas will require some kind of software development and probably new IT hardware, specially, when we are talking of business with a large market volume. A similar assumption can be done when we are talking about the internal support processes.

This discussion can help us to understand the importance of linking always innovation to technology in a business. Different approaches can become unsuccessful at the phase of implementation of ideas. Other focuses can link strongly the concept of innovation with creativity or markets. Innovation implies action not only thinking, it is much more than creativity, and it is much more than introducing products in the market. Innovation is a process that covers different stages and the longest one is usually related to technology development.

Innovation and technology management are two activities fully linked. In a strict sense, innovation as a result of a creative process cannot be managed, it can be promoted and supported through different actions and this is what we usually name innovation management.

On the other hand, technology can be managed. We can analyze the life cycle of products and technologies and make strategies to research new technologies when we a technology is becoming obsolete. And these analyses can be done in terms of costs and resources employed.

Innovation management professionals understand well the concept of technology management that is one of their main activities, but there are some activities related to introduction of products in the markets that must be considered. Innovation management requires an economic viewpoint too, not only technological. And of course, it is much more that the use of tools of creativity promotion.



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