The five components of innovation

Carter Corson is working with partners on a European-wide research project on innovation. In the second of three videos and blogs, Hannah Johnson and Rupert Cornford explain how innovation will be measured

Innovation is a critical component for success in modern-day organisations – it’s important for the university and business worlds alike at a time of real change – doing things differently is the only way we are going to adapt and survive.

Higher education can be a breeding ground for innovation because skills like team work and critical thinking are an important part of the jigsaw. Businesses also need initiative and external-facing skills, as they seek to navigate challenges, through people with the brightest minds.

Without innovation, there can be a drought of creativity, an absence of new ideas, and a failure to see how ‘good’ can be turned into ‘great’.

Enter Fincoda – the tool that will measure capacity to innovate and help further develop five key skills: creativity, critical thinking, initiative, team work and networking. It has been developed through a pan-European research project with universities and the private sector.

Creativity is our ability to think beyond tradition and generate or adapt ideas, often regardless of how useful they are. Having the confidence to step into the unknown, open ourselves to the ideas and opinions of others, is the creative space and some find it easier than others.

Critical thinking is very important as it represents your ability to break down and analyse ideas. Being able to see what might go wrong, in addition to right, helps to mitigate risk and understand what can be done in the face of ongoing change.

Initiative is the strongest indicator of innovation – according to the Fincoda tool – and something businesses will be looking at closely. Your ability to make decisions, put your ideas into reality, and motivate others to do the same is key.

Teamwork might be a given, but interdependence isn’t always a natural place for people. The ability to collaborate, across teams and organisations, will be an increasingly important skill in the years ahead.

Networking can strike fear into the heart of some people, but the ability to connect with others, and develop a professional understanding and respect, is the way that business is done. Networking is a key skill – and the fifth measure of innovative capacity.

Look at these five indicators of innovation. Which ones stand out for you?

Most people have strengths in one or two of these areas, and the new barometer will be able to help identify these, and areas for development around innovation. It’s an area to reflect on for individuals and teams as they look to build a greater understanding of how they operate now and into the future.

In the next blog Hannah Johnson will talk about the launch of the Fincoda tool, how you can access and use it