Innovation is changing

Innovation is changing over time
Before the internet revolution, innovation was primaraly about the commercialisation of technological inventions by established companies. These established companies had the best access to all the resources and the money to spend on Research & Development. In our modern society today new companies can innovate as well, as technological inventions or Research & Development (R&D) are not always the only key drivers for success. A good example is Apple, that is ranked by Strategy& as the most innovative company for several years but ranks much lower when it comes to R&D spending (see rankings over time).

Holistic view on innovation
To understand how innovation is evolving in our modern society, it is not enough to view all the different aspects of innovations such as technology, R&D, finance, organisation, customers etc. Innovations today are increasingly mixing these aspects to create new products, processes and services to become successful experiences. To better understand these experiences, a more integrated or holistic perspective is necessary. In the current edition of the Journal of Innovation Economics & Management is an interesting article on this topic called: “A few arguments in favor of a holistic approach to innovation in economics and management“. The article discusses some of the current changes in the way companies innovate, through design thinking, open innovation, the digital revolution, sustainable development and frugal innovation.

I think the article is a useful contribution to better understand what innovation is, how it is changing over time and what the driving forces are.

Norbert Bol

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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