Alex Hall's "Inspiring Business" Speech
Alex Hall's speech at the James Legal Inspiring Business event
What Is Innovation?
First, we need to decide on a definition. Innovation isn’t solely represented by new devices, ideas or methods, but also by the process of uncovering new ways to do things. It can also pertain to modifying business models and adapting to changes to achieve better products and services.
Let’s take a look at the formal definition of both “creation” and “innovation,” since most people will mistakenly use them interchangeably.
According to Merriam-Webster, the term creation means having the quality or power to create, and is the act of making, inventing or producing.
Innovation is defined as the introduction of something new or different. The act of innovating leads to the introduction of new ideas, devices or methods.
In short, creativity plus work results in innovation. Therefore, being innovative means you harness your creative ability.
How To Utilize Innovation
In the business world, for an innovative idea to be useful, it has to be replicable without being too expensive and it has to resolve a particular need. Innovation is achieved by providing something original and is often seen to produce efficiency, leading to an idea that significantly affects the general society.
For example, in the past year, the United Kingdom’s Hampshire County has implemented an innovative approach to road repair and maintenance.
Originally, highway maintenance crews were forced to visit individual production plants before starting road repairs in order to collect fresh, hot asphalt materials. This not only used up valuable time, but also led to wasted material because of particular temperature requirements.
Innovation sparked an idea to develop a mobile unit that mixes the key road-surface ingredients on-site, resulting in more efficiency. This method costs about the same, saves the company and crews time, and the repairs are completed sooner for residents. Notice how compelling and effective this is for anyone who drives on these streets.
Innovation doesn’t have to be the next Google or Microsoft with massive public relations behind it.
In other words, just because something makes front-page news doesn’t mean it has more impact. Some companies, products and ideas revolutionize certain aspects of our lives more quietly.
Sense-T is an intelligent farming initiative that utilizes sensor data to optimize farming operations. Haven't heard of them? Neither had I. But they have a massive impact in the world of sensors and the internet of things.
WeWork is another innovative concept, providing entrepreneurs a place to work when their home, the public library or Starbucks won’t do any longer. The company has 174 office locations in 46 cities around the world.
And Feed Supper turns a casual dinner party into a philanthropic event to raise money to buy millions of meals per month to underprivileged children around the world.