Innovation is the act of doing something new and distinctive. Individuals and organizations can do things in a novel way, which is called process innovation, or create something out of the ordinary, which is called product innovation. Actually, everything can be innovated, from the technologies used, to distribution channels, organizational forms and business models.
Being innovative is essential for achieving differentiation and gaining a competitive advantage. The challenge for both individuals and organizations is to find ways of coming up with innovative ideas, as people easily get stuck in what they already know and are used to.
The Innovation Box is based on the premise that it is easier to find innovations ‘in the box’ than by using ‘out of the box’ thinking. Most people are biased towards the belief that innovations always need to be entirely original and ‘new to the world’, requiring creative thinkers to generate ideas from scratch. Yet such invention is difficult, slow, energy-consuming, and risky. The Innovation Box suggests that creative thinkers should first start by leveraging proven concepts within their own industry and secondly scout other industries for inspiring ideas and models that could potentially be translated to their own situation. Only once these 1st and 2nd order innovations have been harvested, should attention be turned to 3rd order innovations.
The three levels of innovativeness are the following: