8 views on innovation and agile innovation

This article features eight views or faces on innovation and agile innovation.


Innovation is a very used word and in many areas. Everyone seems to agree that it must be encouraged and that all companies and organizations should focus their strategy on innovation, especially SMEs and new companies.

But the concept that is being explained in these different areas does not always coincide. I think I should first clarify the concept that I am going to apply here to the word innovation, which, in any case, will be focused on action, that is, on the capabilities of the organization to act.


Innovating would be something like bringing good ideas to reality, continuously and successfully. Innovation is not, therefore, the result of genius, chance or luck but a process. A process that can be designed, implemented and improved in all companies and organizations. A process that favours the creation of an “innovative culture”.

Innovation is not an option but a necessity. It means:

  • Do something new. Innovate in products or services.
  • Position in the market or segment in a different or new way. Innovate in the value proposition to clients and the positioning in the market.
  • Do things differently. Innovate internal processes.
  • Change paradigm. Create a new “mental model” or category.


We see it differently from invention or discovery, which would be something that until now is unknown, usually based on a discovery whether scientific or technological.

An innovation is the use of this new knowledge or technology for a real application. Something that serves people or the community.

  • Innovation can mean a radical leap in business, something that the market has never seen before.
  • Or it can be of incremental type, that it has taken an existing concept or idea and improves it, typically using a process of stages and development in phases, which lead to a commercially viable new product.
  • But neither do we confuse it with continuous improvement or “Kaizen”, that is, innovation will always have a certain qualitative leap.

And following are, in summary, the 8 faces or views on innovation and agile innovation that you can see in the full article.

1) Innovation and change

Innovation is change, and to manage innovation we have to manage change appropriately.

2) Barriers to innovation

A continuous effort is required to find the origin of internal and external barriers, and action plans to eliminate internal and at least diminish external ones. Our environment in Spain is not the most favorable to innovation.

3) Innovating is a process

Innovation management is a management process, directly linked to the strategy of each company and according to its vision and specific values.

4) Innovation and performance

We will have to harmonize innovation as process for the future with daily operations, immediate performance, sharing resources and limited budgets.  A process of “integral harmonised management”.

5) Agile innovation

The challenge is making innovation an agile process through “Lean” methodologies.

6) Innovation culture and maturity

The innovative culture is part of the organizational maturity, it is created with the accumulated learning in structuring and perfecting the innovation process, and with the experiences of successes and mistakes.

7) Measuring innovation management

Have an integrated system of measures and indicators and use the innovation management evaluation tool.

8) Some details about an agile innovation process

The term ‘Lean’ and agility apply not only in production or in operational fields but in the processes of all kinds of companies and organizations. We also apply it in innovation. An agile innovation process has been designed and tested based on agility methodologies and customer orientation. Although is represented as a continuous flow, it is permanently open to the outside, based on the iteration and the concurrent activity of various sub-processes.

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