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Introduction

This paper provides approaches that can be used by organizations to introduce product innovation using organizational capabilities by generation of products and services over time that meet current needs of the organization. The aim of this paper is to provide methods that can be used to assess innovative activities in an organization.

On the basis of this paper, product innovation is the process of introducing a new product or service to the market. It involves conceptualization of products, their design and development as well as their operationalization and distribution. Innovation is also the process of creating an innovative technology or invention for parts and processes (Peter 2008). There are many types of innovation that entail the process of introducing a new product to an organization. The innovation assists in transforming existing products.

In many cases, planned and measured combination of information, ideas, and objects results into innovation which contributes to the improvement of business and technological information and revolutions (Marvin 2006). In order to be considered a valuable innovation, products and services have to be competitive enough to be able to progress in the commercialization activities in the market place. It has also been observed that many organizations use measures that assist in improving their capacity to innovate. Current studies indicate that competition in addition to strong demand is considered a factor that has improved the level of innovation (Brown & Eisenhardt 2005). Other areas where innovation has taken place include new processes, new business systems, and new management methods that have significant impact on the productivity and growth.

This paper also provides a cases study of M3, a company that was able to use product innovation techniques to introduce a new product into its business operations, thus enabling the use of an adhesive that was suggested by one of the employees of the organization. It represents how an idea of one of the employees was converted into a product that managed to be useful to the organization.

Discussion

Product innovation refers to a condition where an idea is converted and translated from suggestions of an individual into a product. It also ensures a balance between incremental and breakthrough in its products. Successful implementation of innovative ideas is dependent on a number of advantages such as nature of leadership that can be used to balance short- and long-term innovation needs (Brown 2012). It is also dependent on the capability of an organization to create a sound supply chain, efficient market, and such collaboration with partners when new products are introduced in new periods. It has also been observed that embracing new innovation and coming up with venturing strategies for building partnership is important in the creation of ideas that result into generation of capabilities within an organization that assist in complementing and execution that is worth considering (Brown, & Duguid 2001).

Consistent execution has also been considered to be a factor that ensures that innovation is implemented in an organization in areas such as application of knowledge about customers and products as well as process technology and the core cooperatives of an organization. These aspects of knowledge are guiding strategies for the success of a business.

Stages Used to Achieve Product Innovation

I.                    Stimulation

This is the stage where a person becomes aware of the need to bring about a certain innovation in an organization. This is based on the difficulties that the organization is undergoing. This person needs to be from outside of the organization or an insider with external orientation by application of formal and informal relationships with employees of the organization or other people (Burns & Stalker 2001). Stimulators need to be cosmopolite individuals that have a better understanding of environmental problems faced by the organization.

II.                 Initiation

In this process, a new idea gets the increased consideration from the members of a company. The initiators need to have the ability to convert the idea into the course of actions that is beneficial to the organization. Furthermore, the initiator needs to ensure that he has the right information concerning the organization and is able to package the information in the form that is recognizable to other members of the organization.

III.               Legitimating

At this stage, the idea is evaluated by the members of the organization to determine if it conforms to the norms and values of the organization. They ensure that they decide whether the innovation will bring positive outcome to their organization. The legitimizer has to be an insider who has the power to sanction ideas brought by the initiator (Barley 2006). A person can act as a legitimizer in a number of situations based on the depth of his experience, personality, and interests. A person can also be a legitimizer if he has the knowledge concerning the organization’s structure and the levels of innovation in the organization.

IV.              Decision-making

This stage involves a decision-making process for commitment of the company investments for application of the idea. The person responsible for decision-making has to be the one who has formal control over the resources of the organization. This ensures that the use of resources in the innovation is authorized by the organization.

V.                 Execution

At this stage, the innovation proposed is considered useful to the organization, and it is implemented. The process can be carried on by implementing the recommendations of the initiator in improving the existing conditions of the proposed innovation areas. The executor needs to be someone who has the ability to implant the decision. There are various functional groups that can be involved in the execution of product development.

1.1.Operations that Need to be Done to Achieve Product Innovation

One of the factors that have been considered to lead to product failure is the inability to understand the needs of customers. In a more positive manner, products that are successful in the market are those that have customer knowledge compared to less successful one (Bailyn 2007). On the contrary, it is difficult to articulate new customer needs when few products are involved. There may be changes in customer needs from time to time when a product is being used. In spite of these difficulties, it is necessary to have a better understanding of various needs and attributes from customers to be able to understand the ultimate success possibility of a product. This results into more sense since a single product represents a number of components, attributes, specifications, the design requirements, and engineering inputs that assist in its construction and a factor of exact customer priorities and preferences. These insights have to be complemented with information from other levels of analysis. The understanding of market conditions, number of possible segments, the possible quick evolution of the market, and knowledge of the most significant drivers of evolution are significant in assessing the viability of a new innovation (Bacon et.al. 2004). In addition, it involves the roles of government regulations, levels of competition, and the existence of complementary products that are significant in affecting the reputation of a company.

None of these levels of the customers or market information can be useful in ascertaining the level of viability of the innovation process. However, it is obvious that the development of a product that does not have desirable performance characteristics for medium set of users who may not be willing to change the existing patterns is not profitable.

1.2.Case Study of Innovation in Adhesive Development at M3

In this case study, M3 was able to use innovative ideas of their employees to make ‘Post-it’ a better adhesive for the use in sticking materials in the organization. Attempts were made by other employees of the organization to compare the idea with other sticking products such as the masking tape or sticking glue, but they were not successful in convincing the management. The employees that contributed to the implementation of the idea of ‘Post-it’ adhesive were Courtney and Merrill whose contribution led to acceptance of the product idea in the organization. Merrill ensured that research was conducted in the area of production development and marketing of ‘Post-it’ note. The employees were engaged in tenacious product development throughout all stages of product life. In order to bring the product idea to the whole organization, a number of people such as engineers, production people, designers, mechanical engineers, product foremen and machine operators were brought together to evaluate the idea of the new adhesive implementation. The production people were pleased with the idea.

All employees in the organization started coming up with the ideas regarding where machines that could produce the adhesive could be found or developed. Within the period of two years, the project initiator, Fry, and mechanical engineers at 3M had come up with a series of machines that had the capability to coat the yellow paper with the applied adhesive and reduce the papers into little squared rectangular notepads.

The people in charge of the project stepped out the preparation of raw materials, testing procedures and intermediate products required to produce the final products. The initial plant produced adequate ‘Post-it’ prototypes that could supply all offices in the company. Marketing team also came up with a method of marketing the new product by creating ‘Post-it’ posts that were stuck on various points within the organization. These products were then introduced to employees in the organization for distribution to the consumers. The marketing people ensured they explained the products to people who bought them. These marketing tests were done to generate enthusiasm in distributors who were not able to use ‘Post-it’ notes and saw no sense in sales efforts for scratch pads that had an exorbitant profit and profit gains. Marketing process involved walking from door to door as well as giving away the product, a practice that has been done at 3M for more than one year.

Conclusion

In most cases, innovation involves a measure of planned ideas I terms of technological revolutions, innovation is only termed valuable when new products and services are strong enough to be able to go through the commercialization process and reach the market place. It has been observed that if an established organization which is at its age of necessitation of innovation does not apply innovative activities, there is a possibility of decline or extinction. It has been observed that measures are being put in a number of organizations that assist in strengthening the capacity to innovate.

 Innovation is significant if the quality of life in the current trying conditions is to be improved.

There are certain problems that have resulted into the difficulty in implementing innovation ideas in organizations. It has been difficult to put ideas into practice for reasons such as criticism for putting forth the idea, the feeling of futility that there may be a possibility of lack of action against the idea or lack of consideration for the idea. However, it has been observed that successful innovation can be achieved by creating a nurturing atmosphere. There are certain conditions necessary to be implemented in order to create successful operations of its activities. There is a need to have a flexible structure for identification of problems and needs of the organization. For instance, it must be ensured that there are few people involved in innovation decisions to prevent mingling of ideas. There is also the need to ensure a moderation of amount of humility towards intellectual property by allowing organizations to practice ideas that are protected by these laws. Successful implementation of innovative ideas is also dependent on protection accorded to the ideas before they are considered viable. Successful implementation of innovative ideas is also dependent on capability of a person to become a ‘product champion’. A product champion becomes significant in ensuring that obstacles facing the idea are overcome and the idea is implemented in the project.

The case of M3 represents the role of a product champion who managed to convince employees in the organization to overcome technical challenges and implement the idea of the adhesive. M3 also ensured that enough research was done to determine product viability.

However, innovation is considered significant and ensures the survival of any organization. The use of innovation will result into making world a better place for younger generations.

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