Innovation is becoming a favourite word of companies in a competitive business. Without it, companies perish.

This is the reason why RCMB-CAR staff set a learning session to listen to the sharing of Director Lourdes P. Estioco on Innovation, a course she took at Singapore in June 2014.

What is INNOVATION? Innovation is the introduction of something new, and a new idea, method or device. It is the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization.  It could be anything from a change in processes, to adopting IT solutions, to learning a new skill.

How does innovation work? Innovation goes through a process. It is not a one- time activity. In her sharing, Director Estioco said that innovation is very important for businesses to survive in today’s globally competitive world.

She also discussed the process of innovation. First, you have to IDEATE. This is a stage in forming and imagining ideas,and looking at the world differently. It is the out-of-the-box way of thinking. Second, is to EVALUATE, which idea to implement. Third is to INCUBATE or EXPERIMENT. An idea should be tested and proven in the real world.  Most people need to touch and feel proof to believe in the solution. Fourth, IMPLEMENT. It is a stage where an innovation project meets the real-world customers. It is when the innovation becomes a reality. Fifth, ASSESS. Determine whether or not the product is accepted in the market. (Source: Director Estioco’s cascading of learnings from a training she attended in Singapore).

Dir. Estioco also discussed not only the different types and faces of innovation, but also its impact and benefits in one’s business. She comes up with a simple formula that sums up what innovation is.

                   INNOVATION   = CREATIVITY + SUCCESSFUL  IMPLEMENTATION

A study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) entitled Does Innovation Mediate Good Firm Performance, the authors Mr. Gilberto M. Llanto, president and Fatima Lourdes Del Prado, senior research specialist, add their analysis on the growing number of literature on innovation. In this paper, the authors affirm that innovation increases sales and profit, and improves labor productivity.

The study undertaken by the authors shows that there are two ways that a firm can change and innovate—through product innovation or the adoption of new product or service, and through process innovation or radical changes in the management and operation of a firm.

The authors also demonstrate that a firm’s ability to undertake both either or type of innovation, and the disposition of the impact on the firm’s performance, is dependent on varying factors.

For Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), firm size, foreign equity, and industry sectors were important considerations for them to invest in changes.   “Small –sized firms or start-up companies for instance, may find it more challenging to do product innovation than process innovation while large companies could typically undertake product and process innovations as a matter of routine,” the authors said.

Most innovations start with a problem. “If we notice a problem at work, we take the initiative to improve the situation. We start thinking of a better way. We should not worry even if it is just a small change. As long as it helps to improve productivity, we can say that it is an idea worth pursuing.” Cesar D. Cacayuran