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Creating Competitive Edge through Continuous Innovation
Organizations around the world have claimed that they are ‘innovative’ businesses as they are creative (Papers4you.com, 2006). However to gain a competitive edge, it is imperative to realize that innovation always implies one step ahead of creativity where later is only an essential component of innovation. Creativity is merely an ability to combine ideas in a unique way or to associate ideas in uncommon manner , however innovation on the other hand is the ‘process’ of taking a creative idea and turning it into a useful product or service ( Robbins & Coulter, 2002). Such process involves inputs like creative individuals, organization and groups that can carry transformation through creative process and situation to give creative products as outputs (Woodman et al, 1993). Furthermore, it is also important to realize that such process should be on continuous basis as true innovative marketing involves regular efforts to gain real improvements in all dimensions related to products and services (Kotler & Armstrong, 1999).
There can be numerous examples of companies that came up with new innovations and get a huge competitive edge and attracted large number of customers (Papers4you.com, 2006). For Instance, years ago, diabetic patients were deprived of tasting sugar in tea or coffee etc. Suddenly low calories sweetener products like ‘Canderal’ came up with an innovative idea to give diabetic and fat conscious patients taste of sugar in various items without disturbing their sugar level. Such products captured market of diabetic patients all over the world. Example of Procter & Gamble’s Liquid Tide is argued as one of the best cases of innovation in US market. Initial endeavors to compete years of Lever Bros market leading liquid detergent product ‘Wisk’ turned out to be huge failure. However by adopting creative idea of adding 12 cleaning agents (that are double than normal) , a dirt trapping molecule in wash water and by giving same color to bottle that is trademark of Tide powdered detergent ( for maintaining brand awareness) and then transforming it into product ‘ Liquid Tide’, P & G challenged many successful years of ‘Wisk’ by capturing equal market share in just 18 months (Kotler & Armstrong, 1999).
Apart from getting edge, there are certain other benefits of innovation. It helps in creating flexible and more adaptive business processes with changing business environments, faster and accurate actions are possible as it requires real-time decision making and due to regular analyses and control, it allows companies to better anticipate disruptions in day-to-day business operations that helps in taking proactive and quick measures to improve results (IBM, 2006)
Hence it may be concluded that instead of relating innovation with creativity only, organizations can get competitive edge and success if they take innovation as a continuous process of product, services and operations with creativity as a key component.
IBM (2006), ‘Transforming businesses for innovation and improvement’, New York: IBM Corporation
Kotler, P & Armstrong, G, (1999), ‘Principles of Marketing’, Eight Edition, New Jersey: Prentice- Hall Inc
Papers For You (2006) " C/OM/33. Does innovation necessarily lead to commercial success? ", Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtopem3.htm [19/06/2006]
Papers For You (2006) " S/B/86. The changing role of innovation S/B/86. The changing role of innovation", Available from Papers4you.com [19/06/2006]
Robbins, S, P & Coulter, M, (2002), ‘Management’, Sixth Edition, New Jersey: Prentice- Hall Inc
Woodman, R, W, Sawyer, J, E & Griffin, R, W, (1993), ‘Toward a Theory of Organizational Creativity’, Academy of Management Review, April, 1993: 309
About the Author: Copyright © 2006 Verena Veneeva. Professional Writer working for http://www.coursework4you.co.uk