Saturday, September 23, 2023

Innovation Breakthrough Introduction: The Aims of Breakthrough Innovation

The goals of innovation, especially breakthrough innovation, should focus on people and the long-term trends and business vision. 

Breakthrough innovation is new to the world. It is something that no one else has done before; really original, something that couldn't have been possible. It is the innovation that opens the organization to new markets or changes the way customers interact with the market or the industry. 

Breakthrough Innovation is disruptive and will change your organization in many fields with high return and high risks. You need new mindsets, new technologies, new processes, new customers, new knowledge, and maybe a new business model. The differentiation between incremental and breakthrough innovation relates to the degree to which a particular innovation changes the competitive landscape or the degree of impact it makes to its vertical industry.  All that makes them very risky but it perhaps worth the effort because it significantly increases return on investment. Technically, discovering and managing breakthrough innovation is an interdisciplinary approach with multiple perspectives scientifically, philosophically, and spiritually.

  •  Science provides the control part of the knowledge system for breakthrough innovation: Besides the art of creative ideas, innovation, even a breakthrough innovation isn’t a serendipity, it is a scientific process which can be managed systematically. Science is the methodical process of identifying logical reasons, experimental methods, stepwise procedures, concrete scenarios, and bringing up provable outcomes. However, Radical/Breakthroughs/Transformational Innovations are not something everyone can accomplish. You have to systematically craft a unique set of capabilities to execute it successfully, that is something you cannot accomplish overnight. How successfully that organization can manage “disruptive ideas” and manage breakthrough innovation depends on how those ideas are recognized, filtered and dealt with.  

Scientifically, innovation is the mechanism through which you grow and evolve something to something great. However, breakthrough innovation has bigger risks so most companies don’t want to spend all their resources on radical innovation. To manage breakthrough innovation and control risks systematically, the scientific processes should be in place. The systematic structure provides the shell within which individuals can collaborate to create transparency to manage innovation. The challenge of leading and managing innovation is an overly conservative approach itself, or the company limits their organizational capability to only focus on small incremental innovation and fail to result in significant steps of capturing revenue opportunities by evolutionary innovation and breakthrough innovation.

  • Philosophy is the influential part of generating “big ideas” or looking deeper into breakthrough innovation: Fundamentally, innovation is the scenario to solve problems. Breakthrough innovation is usually about solving complex problems to make a significant impact and jumpstart the next chapter of innovation. We need more people pursuing truth, reality, and wisdom, asking” big why” questions and digging through the root cause of many problems. Philosophy is methodical and has deliberate processes for identifying questions, reasoning, identifying faulty reasoning, and thinking outside the box. However, we are living in an economic system that was created a few centuries ago and many companies are still run in silo with overly rigid hierarchical management disciplines. Often a problem is seen very differently by different parties. The radical innovation creates a chain of innovation, meaning it necessarily leads to new innovation and enhancements to solve a series of problems creatively.

Philosophy is the compass of human civilization and the foundations of “big principles” behind breakthrough innovation. Philosophy is abstract, but it could provoke the chain of thoughts to stimulate fresh ideas. Philosophy is the foundation upon which science has been built and continues to put forth the questions which help to scrutinize innovation purposes, principles, or processes, and move science onward and upward. By applying a philosophical lens to understand thorny issues and identify opportunities to initiate breakthrough innovation, business leaders and professionals can step outside their own box - assuming a box is a mental model, the key is to find the right new boxes, think in new boxes, or shape a bigger box by making connections between different boxes; rather than thinking outside of one particular box, to see alternatives and solve complex problems with creativity and collaboration.

  • Spirituality as the appreciative part: The world is a melting pot of languages, religions, races, genders, and the life journey has, but only one purpose, to push human society forward. All artistic, scientific, philosophical knowledge of mankind is inspired by Nature. We are truly connected to the world around us - our surroundings, our interactions with others via mind connection, heart touching, or spiritual sensitivity, all of which influence human consciousness as if our consciousness at every stage of evolution is synchronized with the spirit of nature. It’s important to gain a pervasive appreciation and work on a fairly comprehensive management model that views innovation and transformation as different points along a continuum with very different tools and competencies needed along the way. 


We come together in an effective way catalyzing creativity, bringing about breakthrough ideas, and accelerating the change we want to see in the world. Spirituality, not based on doctrines but true introspection and connectivity of nature, does have a practical role in that it could help to inform us to see the bigger picture, sense the invisible and stimulate breakthrough ideas. It helps to perceive the complexity of all things from this side, that side, and the interaction of both sides while simultaneously reflecting on how the expanded worldview influences the understanding of what it is people are inquiring about. In the organizational scope, culture is an invisible “spiritual thing.”  Because most of the radical innovations need a lot of time to launch into the market. Therefore, most of the organizational culture, especially in large companies, are not inclined to radical innovation. To nurture innovation, especially breakthrough innovation, it’s important to appreciate risk taking, develop resilience, build competency, and encourage collaboration.  


Breakthrough innovation is the collaborative effort and a leapfrog to societal evolution. An innovation system to relate spirituality with science is through philosophy. In fact, science, philosophy, and spirituality are all crucial angles to see through breakthroughs. In theories, the cross disciplinary approach (science, spiritualism, and philosophy) makes a triad of the highest levels of human knowledge to drive breakthrough innovation. In practice, interdisciplinary science applied to management with integrating multidisciplinary methodology, enables leaders to frame bigger thinking boxes, and motivates creative workforce to approach problems via multifaceted ways for accelerating business performance.


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