Published in El Pais, 16 March 2019.
Whenever innovation and creativity is presented, the logos of Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix etc. seem to be the only companies that should inspire us to be innovative and creative. Of course, it is amazing if you can show a new product that blows everybody away, with a video that goes viral, appears in the newspaper or CNN. But, this is only one way to be innovative and creative. Although they are without doubt innovative companies that are worthwhile to be mentioned, real innovation often occurs without the customer notices anything, changes in the way things are produced, resources used, better logistics etc.
Companies need to make money to survive. They are not philanthropic institutions. Main goal is to make money and if they don’t, they cease to exist. The main method for this is to keep the costs low and benefits high. Sounds simple, but it isn’t at all. To stay competitive companies, need to take care to keep their production costs per sold unit as low as possible. A lot of innovation happens on that side without anybody ever notices anything. There are many products that have gotten cheaper over time. TVs, CD players, computers, are cheaper when corrected for inflation compared to 20 years ago. It is even said that certain BMW models became more affordable, apples, eggs and other food stuff. All thanks to an innovative production or commercialization process.
All this is thanks to the innovation and creativity that makes a business prosper and be competitive. These real geniuses look at production and commercialization so that products can be produced better, cheaper, with less work, less money, better logistics. The first computers were built by hand and costed more than an average house. Nowadays, thanks to innovation, a computer costs less than a month’s salary and is available to everyone. You can even innovate the way advertising is done. How many of you click on the ads that appear by reading a newspaper online?
The next time you hear that your business needs to be more innovative or creative, do not forget the real innovation that helps you make the same product in a more competitive way.