One definition of innovation is the merging of inventive processes with entrepreneurial processes for the purpose of creating fresh economic benefits for team members. Innovation also has been defined as the result of adding the implementation process to the inventive process. Innovation is deeper than just an idea. Innovation can only be accomplished when an idea is converted to tangible results, which then can be executed.
Innovation is simply proposing something new via product, process or ideas. It could be a totally new concept or a realigning of an existing concept. The creative process allows teams and individuals to think freely. It brings a lot of added value to a company. However, innovation does not automatically translate into a business venture. It is just an introduction to something new.
The most notable difference between innovation and entrepreneurship is the amount of risk involved. Innovation does not require risk, while entrepreneurship does. Entrepreneurship represents a willingness to develop opportunities from ideas or innovation, and to take the risks associated to make it work.
Many entrepreneurs are the senior leaders or inventors in an organization. They refuse to limit themselves to certain ideas or processes. They typically do not set limits on themselves and will get the project done by any means necessary. A successful entrepreneur must have the ability to manage others, make complex decisions, lead in ideal and bad times, and take risks.
Entrepreneurial growth requires the ongoing discovery and improvement of inventive processes. The evolution of ideas and the exploitation of opportunities result in new goods, services, markets and materials being introduced to the global marketplace.
Entrepreneurship can exist without invention. However, innovation requires that these two processes be combined. Innovation, entrepreneurship and invention are all essential components of design thinking. This form of thinking is focused on the development and design of a product based on the needs of the customers. This system takes a series of complex problems and develops creative solutions to address them.
For global change agents and entrepreneurs, it is important to constantly pursue innovation, which creates employment for others and the opportunity to achieve financial independence. True entrepreneurs refuse to be restrained by the fear of criticism, change, failure or success. Entrepreneurship requires creativity and the ability to open your mind to a variety of ideas to address a specific problem. Ideation, or brainstorming, is simply the collection of ideas in a safe space. It is very beneficial to reserve time for that process.
An entrepreneurial mindset is a thought process where we identify a problem, work through any obstacles that come up, and advance ideas. Successful entrepreneurs set goals and work towards them until they have mastered achievement. They are committed and forward thinkers. Entrepreneurs like to think about all of the potential problems that can come up.
“Serial innovators” constantly overcome their fears to bring breakthrough innovations to market. They have learned during their careers that inventions alone do not have an impact on their organizations. Inventions without implementation and measurable outcomes are useless. Passion and commitment are necessary to make products or ideas move. The relationship between entrepreneurship and innovation is critical to becoming a global change agent.
Dee Brown is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, philanthropist and host of the WTVP program “Self-Made with Dee Brown CEO.” A member of the Forbes Business Council, he is president and CEO of The P3 Group Inc. in Memphis, the nation’s largest minority-owned development and construction firm.