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Inventions and radical innovations

Inventions and the radical innovations based on them are to a lesser extent the result of targeted, program-oriented efforts. They are created by conducting fundamental and targeted research, by establishing and maintaining a specific organizational and managerial climate. At the end of the twentieth century began a massive, purposeful combination and combination of different fields and areas of scientific knowledge and technology and obtaining new areas of application (mechatronics, optoelectronics, biotechnology).

This expanded the scope of revolutionary innovations. The creation of revolutionary innovations gives impetus to the development of new technological systems, associated with the creation of inventions and discoveries that are usually independent of societal needs. Therefore, the process of radical innovation requires a combination of a wider range of conditions than the feeling of unmet demand.

The difference between radical and sophisticated innovation is the qualitative difference in the level of novelty of the respective innovations. It shows the dependence of the latter on the former – radical innovations serve as a basis for subsequent improvements. The improvement of radical innovations after implementation serves for their further development and continuation of their effect. In the initial stages of its development, radical innovations meet the resistance of the mechanisms and structures of the improvement activity.

The nature of radical innovations, the mechanism of their creation and dissemination are fundamentally different from evolutionary processes. Basic innovations lead to the development of a package (cluster) of modified innovations. Systems innovations are those that give new functions to radical innovation by bringing together components in new ways.

System innovations include the use of the vacuum tube in radio and telecommunications systems, transistors in digital electronic technologies. Initially, they were designed for other purposes: the vacuum tube – for telephone systems, and the transistor – to replace the vacuum tube.

Secondary innovations are solutions that significantly improve the basic innovations. Modified innovations improve the characteristics of basic innovations without changing the principles underlying their creation.

Improving innovations

Improving innovations are small but important improvements of products, processes, services. Reference: “What is Product Innovation“, https://mpmu.org/what-is-product-innovation/

They continue to improve their technology and spread their application to radical and systemic innovations. No, the invention of the vacuum tube had to be perfected in terms of creating a vacuum before it could become a component of the telephone.

Thousands of innovations have been created since the refinement of the transistor, based on which integrated circuits, large and ultra-large integrated circuits have been created. Evolutionary innovations are constantly being made. In the second half of the twentieth century, their frequency increased as a result of purposefully organized research and development.

They are often obtained from ideas and proposals coming from the field of production, sales, consumption. The peculiarities of modern competition lead to a shortening of the life cycle, above all of the innovations of a modernizing nature. The importance of evolutionary innovations is great, although they are not expected to have much effect.

They are an important source for increasing labor productivity, saving resources, and improving quality. They increase the effect of radical innovations immediately after their implementation. Evolutionary innovations are most often created to meet consumer demand. The process of evolutionary innovation is entirely subordinated to societal needs, to the relationship between supply and demand, but is limited by the capabilities of the technological potential of the system within which the process takes place.

Improving innovation is the result mainly of accumulated empirical experience, of implicit knowledge. Frequent entry into the market with secondary innovations increases the sensitivity of organizations to market signals, helps to accumulate information about consumer preferences, which is a source of knowledge for further upgrades. In the 1980s, American carmakers were seriously worried about Japanese competitors due to the frequent change of car models as a result of close interaction with consumers. It took the Japanese just 48 months to launch a new car model, while General Motors needed 84.

By the end of the 1980s, the Americans had managed to bridge the gap and also shortened the cycle to 48 months. A model of the company “Ford” was developed in 36 months and thus returned the lost positions of the company.

Therefore, stimulating the constant modernization of production in the organization becomes an important organizational and managerial task, which requires the creation of the necessary conditions and environment for this.

The dynamics of demand

Another, no less important indicator of the process of creating innovation is the dynamics of demand. It is determined by the factors change and distribution of income, price mobility, structures of investment and personal consumption, and others.

According to the degree of saturation of demand, the center of activity of innovations is shifting from improving the functional characteristics of the product to technological organizational and managerial changes that allow, at the expense of cost savings, to reduce prices. This leads to an expansion of demand due to the inclusion of new categories and groups of users. However, after a certain degree of satisfaction of the main consumer groups, there is a period of a small increase in demand and then a decrease.

Further replication of the innovation becomes impossible without making significant changes to it. Thus, the life cycle of revolutionary innovations is determined by a system of indicators: technological potential and economic potential of innovation. The search for the rational combination of these two potentials is a central task in the management of innovation processes.

At the present stage of UTP, the use of multifunctional and expensive science-intensive products is expanding, for which it is extremely difficult to determine the criteria that reflect all aspects of the consumer effect. It is necessary to note another important position for the interdependence of radical and evolutionary transformations. The appearance of the former sets a higher level opens a new general concept (technological, economic, organizational, and managerial) for further improvement.

The breakthrough at the new technological level means that further evolutionary development assessed within the framework of the previous concept would mean a radical innovation.

Greater predictability and certainty of evolutionary improvement, but now at a new level of quality, also means greater labor savings. Based on the above differences between radical and evolutionary innovations, the ratio of scientific, technical, and economic factors in the innovation process can be roughly distinguished.

To talk about the mutually exclusive influence of these factors – means to seriously simplify the real picture, to bring only the necessary but far from sufficient conditions. The presentation of the innovation process related mainly to the market impulse takes place in the early stages of the economic implementation of UTP.

Scientific and technical capabilities

For example, the concept of many innovations created by Leonardo da Vinci and meeting certain needs have been waiting for their realization for hundreds of years due to the lack of scientific and technical capabilities for their implementation. At the same time, focusing exclusively on needs at their extreme leads to the idea of ​​the eternal engine – a requirement that will never be met.

The creation of radical innovations is less related to the reaction of consumers in the market, because: first, their demand is not determined, because at the time of their appearance there is no specific market; secondly, radical innovations are applied in areas that are significantly further from the field in which they were created; third, the use of radical innovations changes existing trends, requires major changes and the creation of new technological systems.

The lack of a comprehensive approach to radical innovations can significantly slow down the time for their spread or significantly reduce their effect. Pseudo-innovation – these are solutions that create minor changes in innovation or solutions, the implementation of which results in results lower than or equal to the industry average.

They do not lead to changes in their user characteristics. Innovations are divided into the material (presented in the form of a material object, for example – product, technological innovation) and intangible (have no material form, for example – legal radicals).

According to the field of functional application, innovations are technical (product and technological), process, economic, social, managerial, educational, and others. Product innovations can be presented in the form of a new product or service.

When this type of innovation is a new or improved product, it requires significant investment, as its development involves R&D, the development of process innovations.

By Robert Brown

Robert Brown is a longtime manager of a technology organization and author of a management book. In his spare time, Mr. Brown helps students get a better education by helping to publish free study materials.

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