WHAT IS INNOVATION?

What is innovation? What may appear to be obvious is actually less if not at all. The problem of innovation has, and is quite normal, interested more than one entrepreneur or project carrier. Moreover, according to the Schumpterian design, is innovation not what characterizes the entrepre[1]neur?  Unfortunately, many people (same entrepreneurs) have only a wacky idea of innovation. In an attempt to lift the lid on what innovation is, the following lines will be devoted to a wealth of definitions of innovation punctuated by examples.

Innovation concept

Don't we often say, "Innovate or disappear[2]?"

Innovation is broader than just using new technologies. New technologies were not expected to talk about innovation, contrary to current "secular" beliefs. Time and space play a very important role in the implementation and recognition (as such) of an innovation; hence the protean semantics of innovation. To this end, Schumpeter cited A[4]ssielou or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development under the Oslo Manual propose a definition of innovation as follows. So it is:

  • The introduction of a new product or service on the market: the product or service can be improved or completely new;
  • The introduction of a new method of production;
  • Conquering a new market;
  • The use of new raw materials or the implementation of a new or significantly improved process;
  • The establishment of a new form of organization or the implementation of a new organizational method in the practices of the organization of the workplace or external relations.

According to the OECD quoted by A[5]ssielou, "the minimum criterion for a change in a firm's products or functions to be considered an innovation is that it must be "new to the firm" (or lead to a marked improvement)" Th[…]e concept of novelty comes in three forms: novelty for the company, novelty for the market and novelty for the whole world."

Of this conceptual variation of innovation, four categories of innovation are recognized by the OECD. These categories will be presented in the following lines is supported by examples.

OECD innovation categories (classical definition)[6]

The OECD distinguishes four types of innovation through the definition it has given. These include product innovations, process innovations, marketing innovations and organizational innovations.

Product innovation

According to the OECD, product innovation is:

  • The introduction of a new product or service;
  • A product or service significantly improved in terms of its characteristics or the intended use (significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, integrated software, usability or other functional features).

So, to talk about technology-related product innovation, we can talk about the phone here. On March 10, 1876, although Alexander Graham Bill mounted what can be called the first phon[7]e. However, in 1973, the manufacturer Motorola made an improvement to the phone that has however evolved in shape, imagining the mobile phone that will be put on the market 10 years later[8]. This is a product innovation, especially in the technical features. In terms of usage, we can also talk about the phone. The use of the mobile phone to access financial services is certainly a product innovation in the use of the phone. At this level, it was a matter of proposing to use the mobile phone for other purposes.

Always to talk about product innovation, the case of the coca Cola comp[9]any also one of the most telling one can have. This company has, without meaning constantly in history, improved the composition of its drink before arriving at a fairly stable form. A product innovation would also send back, for an entrepreneur to sell a product that certainly exists elsewhere but is new in its market.

Product innovation is the result of two components that are invention and the market. "The invention (on technological or functional characteristics) is in itself insufficient: for it to become innovation, it must lead to a market, i.e. be commercialized, disseminated or integrated into the uses. »[10]

Process innovation

According to the OEC[11]D, process innovation is defined by:

– the implementation of a new or significantly improved production method;

– the implementation of a new or significantly improved distribution;

This concept implies significant changes in techniques, hardware and/or software. 

Many young entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs could find themselves in the definition of process innovation. It is still remembered how Rockeff[12]er proposed the construction of pipelines to sell his oil instead of the use of trains. Process innovation also involves a contractor who would find a way to produce a property in record time and at a lower cost through a new process.

Marketing innovation

Marketing innovation is defined as the implementation of a new marketing method involving design changes:

  •   Packaging
  • Investment
  • Promotion
  • pricing a product[13].

In this category, we can mention brewing or mineral water companies that are used to modifying their packaging. This is the case for the Supermont or Tangui brands in Cameroon[14].

Organizational innovation

Organizational innovation is defined as the implementation of a new organizational method in:

  • Practices,
  •  The organisation of the workplace
  •  the firm's external relations"[15]

A firm can innovate by reorganizing the way it operates, its management, etc. This is what happens when a company accompanied by an accelerator or incubator changes its organization. This is also what happens when a radical innovation is adopted by a company and it impacts its business model to the point of impacting its organization.

Digitalization affecting banks, for example, has a profound impact on the organization of banking firms to the point of creating new profit centres or closing old ones[16].

Figure: OECD definitions of innovation category (2005)

            Source: stephanie.buisine.free.fr[17]

All in all, innovation is a concept that lies at the heart of the entrepreneurial process/adventure. It cannot be limited to a limited (purely technological) design as confirmed by the current trend in the world. In addition, outside the four categories of innovation convened in this article, we could talk about other classifications that are, for example, related to the intensity of the effects of innovations. In this vein, one should logically expect that an innovation can have tangible consequences for a company that adopts it.

Rodet Parish DJOMBA


[1] https://www.dunod.com/entreprise-economie/grand-livre-entrepreneuriat

[2] https://books.google.cm/books?id=MSo_ygEACAAJ&dq=le+marketing+selon+Kotler&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi40MyorPLpAhVNSEEAHU4QA08Q6AEIJjAA

[3] https://www.amazon.fr/Strategor-%C3%A9dition-Toute-strat%C3%A9gie-dentreprise/dp/2100598643

[4] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi4kfjGrvLpAhVfREEAHVPDDZoQFjAAegQIBBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fhal.univ-lorraine.fr%2Ftel-01748709%2Ffile%2F2008_ASSIELOU_N.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2J8JpGvmf1QI7htGPaKycW

[5] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi4kfjGrvLpAhVfREEAHVPDDZoQFjAAegQIBBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fhal.univ-lorraine.fr%2Ftel-01748709%2Ffile%2F2008_ASSIELOU_N.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2J8JpGvmf1QI7htGPaKycW

[6] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwij8Kj0w4PqAhWjQUEAHYvJC8MQFjABegQIAxAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oecd.org%2Ffr%2Fsti%2Finno%2F2367523.pdf&usg=AOvVaw08uE6KXSEVFOgnd6ADhCBT

[7] https://www.amazon.fr/March-Mobile-Money-Lifestyle-Management-ebook/dp/B00CNHUDL4

[8] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiouZqkxoPqAhVzQUEAHfRzDrsQFjABegQIBBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftel.archives-ouvertes.fr%2Ftel-00983937%2Fdocument&usg=AOvVaw3cqF-JMwkibuYb_eMYgmlJ

[9] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwixmNGux4PqAhWSfMAKHS-pA7wQFjALegQIAxAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.coca-cola-france.fr%2Fnos-engagements%2Fnotre-vision%2Flaboratoire-d-innovation-coca-cola-une-histoire-de-gouts&usg=AOvVaw0-zoz-WAib2KvbUEsYDqt8

[10] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiIqf_LtfLpAhXzaRUIHXx1CqoQFjABegQICxAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fstephanie.buisine.free.fr%2Fpublis%2FDefInnov16.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3MSWFX7ZQJErs6FDMwL_-E

[11] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiJrLL8sPLpAhVMXMAKHR-BAV0QFjAEegQIAhAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oecd.org%2Ffr%2Fsti%2Finno%2F2367523.pdf&usg=AOvVaw08uE6KXSEVFOgnd6ADhCBT

[12] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwje0pmPyIPqAhWDiVwKHZoTD8UQFjACegQIARAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnautil.us%2Fissue%2F50%2Femergence%2Fhow-the-oil-pipeline-began&usg=AOvVaw2Ne7TAJW8zzOs_xMZzfHbO

[13] https://www.dunod.com/entreprise-economie/strategies-et-changement

[14] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwilvs2WyoPqAhVOiFwKHW78BMQQFjAHegQICBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cameroonbusinesstoday.cm%2Farticles%2F581%2Ffr%2Fedito&usg=AOvVaw0eThPsHduI-YzNskFukBIj

[15] https://www.dunod.com/entreprise-economie/strategies-et-changement

[16] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwinzOTiyoPqAhUIQUEAHUeCCL4QFjAAegQIARAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbanque.meilleurtaux.com%2Fbanque-en-ligne%2Factualites%2F2020-mars%2Frevolution-digitale-transforme-banques-interieur.html&usg=AOvVaw1iY4dnPPEj88isyOlJx6yu

[17] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiIqf_LtfLpAhXzaRUIHXx1CqoQFjABegQICxAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fstephanie.buisine.free.fr%2Fpublis%2FDefInnov16.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3MSWFX7ZQJErs6FDMwL_-E

THE INCUBATOR PRESENTATION By UCAC

Coordinated by Father Vice-Rector Dr. Epiphane KINHOUN and under the responsibility of Delphine NGO BAYIGA, the incubator by UCAC's main vision is to strengthen UCAC's position as a leader in vocational training in the Central Africa sub-region, meeting the aspirations of a new generation of students and the needs of businesses, through the creation of high-employed businesses.