Academic Joseph Schumpeter distinguished between 'invention, the making real of an idea and innovation, successful application of an idea.' Schumpeter also identified that the ultimate 'goal of innovation is positive change,' in business terms this refers to reducing costs, alignment with regulations and increasing productivity. Essentially, every 'have to' and the better place to be, every 'want to' could be approached innovatively.
In the market place it is said, by Ten3Venture that Raymond Smith, former Chairman of Bell Atlantic/Verizon, stated that revolutionary technologies are absorbed as follows:
1. The invention itself,
2. Enabling technologies encourage the spread of the invention,
3. There is a key insight that turns a technological possibility into a new way of communicating,
4. Business models emerge,
5. Consolidation occurs.
Similarly, Raymond Smith's charter of the entry pattern of revolutionary technologies into the marketplace can be analogized to the context of technology introduction to a business as follows:
1. A device is purchased,
2. Support features such as allocated time for use or allocated purpose for use occurs,
3. A key insight occurs, such as that with the use of twitter in a marketing mix.
4. A business process emerges from the insight,
5. Consolidation occurs in the new business process and it becomes routine.
Adaptation is what our ancestors engaged in to survive climate change. Survival of economic changes also requires some degree(s) of adaptation. Some tips and strategies for best ways to approach innovation in a climate of economic recovery, within businesses, using technology, can be found from the more cash restrained approaches used in schools and opensource educational environments found online, in fact, most places where restraints may also mean limited resources. Some suggestions gleaned from a review of education approaches include:
1. Look critically at what you have, be it hardware or software, to assess whether you could be doing more with it.
2. It isn't what you have, it's what you do with it. Use time/cost calculations to assess the value of actions and resource purchases.
3. Sometimes the best things in life are free. Open source became popular not only for ease of use but also because it is free and many such easy to use resources and applications are available for general and commercial use.
4. Accept that some new uses for technology may be experimental but if there is little or no additional cost involved there is little or no risk or damage if it doesn't work out and the learning gained is valuable organizational knowledge that can be kept.
Some interesting approaches for adaptation processes can be found here: http://www.futurelab.org.uk
More on technology strategy development (including Ray Smith's steps) can be found here: http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/im_tech_strategy.html