What we mean with the Process of Innovation depends, of course, on the perspective from which we look at it:
- from the perspective of The Individual, participating in the process
- from the perspective of The Team in developing innovative products and services
- from the perspective of The Organisation that intends to develop and deliver
   new products and services
- from the perspective of The Market(s) in which the new products and services will
   compete for the favour of consumers
- from the perspective of Society, in which innovations become embedded standards 


From the Individual's perspective

There is an important difference between a discovery, an invention and innovation:
A Discovery is recognizing something that already exists for the first time, that nobody has found before. For instance how Kepler describes the Heliocentric System.
An Invention is creating something totally new with one’s own ideas and development.
For instance how Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.

Innovation is the transformation of creative ideas to useful applications by combining resources in new or unusual ways to provide value through improved products or services. 
Whereas a discovery or an invention can be the result of one single person's effort,*)

Innovations for sure are the product of people working together.

*) Even here one may doubt that this is the case. More often discoveries take place simultaneously on different places in the world. The concept of multiple discovery is the hypothesis that most scientific discoveries and inventions are made independently and more or less simultaneously by multiple scientists and inventors. The concept of multiple discovery opposes a traditional view — the "heroic theory" of invention and discovery. See for instance Malcolm Gladwell's Big Think (2011)

The FINCODA project, sponsored by the EU and realised in co-operation between a number of European Universities, had the mission to identify innovation talent at an early stage. The project started with the development of a competence model, shown to the right.
LDpe has successfully connected the model to the (simulation model of the) LD-Toolbox and we can help the individual to develop his/her innovation competences.
The Fincoda model shows clearly that innovation is not only a solitair activity.
One needs Teamwork and Networking, i.e. social interaction in order to become successful. The individual components of this competence model are Creativity and Critical Thinking.
But this, however, does not imply that everyone in the innovation process necessarily must be highly creative and/or think very critically.


From the Team's perspective

Looking at the possibilities of a team, it is not necessary that everyone in the team is an ace in creativity and critical thinking...
Moreover, the team will probably stimulate the individual members to become more creative.
The process of innovation is both an exploration and synthesis.
And, also this process of human interaction follows a certain pattern, as Nonaka and Takeuchi pointed out in their SECI model (The Knowledge Creating Company, 1995).
The tacit knowledge, held in people's bodies and minds, that may stimulate creativity, is not easily captured. In interaction with others, though, that knowledge may be externalised and contribute to an innovative process.
1.Tacit to Tacit (Socialization) -              
This dimension explains Social interaction as tacit to tacit knowledge transfer, sharing tacit knowledge face-to-face or through experiences.
2.Tacit to Explicit (Externalization) -
Between tacit and explicit knowledge by Externalization (publishing, articulating knowledge), developing factors, which embed the combined tacit knowledge which enable its communication.
3. Explicit to Explicit (Combination) -
Organizing, integrating knowledge, Combining different types of explicit knowledge, for example building prototypes. 
4. Explicit to Tacit (Internalization) -
Knowledge receiving and Application by an individual, enclosed by learning by doing; on the other hand, explicit knowledge becomes part of an individual's knowledge and will be assets for an organization. Internalization is also a process of continuous individual and collective reflection and the ability to see connections and recognize patterns and the capacity to make sense between fields, ideas, and concepts.
After Internalization, the process continues at a new ‘level’, hence the metaphor of a “spiral” of knowledge creation.

Innovation can emerge through social interaction, explicit exchange of information, learning by doing, internalization and leverage.

From the organisation's perspective

Different types of innovation

Before we concentrate on the organisation's perspective of innovation, we need to mention that there are different types of innovation. One type of innovation is more easy to achieve than the other. In Bart Bossink's publication he lists the following innovation types:

Product Innovation
  Improvement and renewal of existing products
Process Innovation
  Improvement of the manufacturing process
Positioning Innovation
  Improvement and renewal of the organisation's position in its markets and society
Paradigm Innovation
  Renewal of how the organisation organises and frames its right to exist

Development steps and Innovation Capabilities

Generally, the development steps in innovation processes are:
- Ideation
- Project Selection
- Product Development
- Commercialization

To organize for innovation in an effective way, organisations, will need to build up a number of capabilities.
The process of innovation, called Innovation Management, differs from running 'Business as Usual'.

Innovation Management

A large number of innovation experts, all around the world, work together, in ISO, the International Standard Organisation, backed up by a large number of local institutions, creating a common language for innovation management. Just to help you in setting up your innovation activities.

In February 2020 the newest standard ISO 56000, Innovation management – Fundamentals and vocabulary was issued (click on the picture for reading the press release).

Managing the portfolio of products and services

The new products and services that the organisation develops will be includes in the organisation's product portfolio. The way in which organisation manage their product portfolio differs, but the life-time of the items in the portfolio has to be analysed regularly. The product portfolio matrix is a chart that was created in 1970 by Bruce D. Henderson for the Boston Consulting Group (BSC) to help corporations to analyse their product lines. This helps the company allocate resources.
The BSC matrix is used as an analytical tool in brand marketing, product management, strategic management, and portfolio analysis.

Business Model Generation

Before the introduction new products and services, the organisation needs to think through all facets of the business model.
The Handbook on Business Model Generation (2010), written by 
Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur 
has become a very popular instrument and checklist for 
understanding, designing, reworking, and implementing business models for an organisation's products and services.

From the perspective of the Market(s)

Diffusion of innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread. Everett Rogers, a professor of communication studies, popularized the theory in his book Diffusion of Innovations; the book was first published in 1962, and is now in its fifth edition (2003). Rogers argues that diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated over time among the participants in a social system. The origins of the diffusion of innovations theory are varied and span multiple disciplines.

Rogers proposes that four main elements influence the spread of a new idea: the innovation itself, communication channels, time, and a social system. The innovation must be widely adopted in order to self-sustain. Within the rate of adoption, there is a point at which an innovation reaches critical mass (the tipping point, chasm).

The categories of adopters are innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Diffusion manifests itself in different ways and is highly subject to the type of adopters and innovation-decision process.


From Societal perspective

Technological innovations have occurred throughout history and rapidly increased over the modern age. New technologies are developed and co-exist with the old before supplanting them.
Transport offers several examples; from sailing to steam ships to automobiles replacing horse-based transportation. Technological transitions (TT) describe how these technological innovations occur and are incorporated into society. Alongside the technological developments TT considers wider societal changes such as “user practices, regulation, industrial networks (supply, production, distribution), infrastructure, and symbolic meaning or culture”. (Wikipedia)

Multi-level perspective (MLP)

One of the theories on acceptance and breakthrough of technology in society is the multi-level Perspective. (MLP), an analytical methodology that attempts to deal with the complexity and resistance to change.
The MLP posits three analytical and heuristic levels on which processes interact and align to result in socio-technical system transformations; landscape (macro-level), regimes (meso-level) and niches (micro-level).

The niche level is defined as the “locus for radical innovations” where dedicated actors nurture the development of technological novelties. It starts as a small application domain in which new technological innovations are tested an improved by innovative organisations and users. The activities in the niche are initially strongly focused on perfection of the technology. When the development in the niche becomes more focused on the development of user experience, the niche may evaluate till market-niche.
The sociotechnical regime is defined by standard practices, habits and traditions of larger groups of people (the mass) that give a strong base of existence to a number of products and services. Once these products and services belonged to a niche, but after their breakthrough they have become ‘common practice’. Also rules and legislation have grown accustomed to their existence, and generally everyone feels comfortable with this situation.
The sociotechnical landscape includes the general technological and social constant values in society. It are the standardised technological developments and infrastructures for functioning industries, the way in which cities have been shaped, the presence of energy and logistics. Sociotechnical landscapes are deeply embedded in societies and dominant ways of living, belief and religion, healthcare, economical and political developments.

Breakthrough of new technologies

A new technology starts its development at the niche level. Many of the thesis developments are vulnerable and strongly dependent of R&D investments and possibly also governmental subsidies.
Financially they are hardly interesting, unless it comes to a breakthrough. But that is not so easy, because, at the sociotechnical level they meet a lot of resistance. Most niche level developments never come as far as that level.