Innovation can be split into four different types. Instead of aiming for a vague idea of innovation, companies can use knowledge sharing to develop these four specific types.
Incremental innovation. This is usually the most frequently observed kind of innovation in a company. It’s about creating new iterations of existing products and services to increase their value. A great way to facilitate incremental innovation across your company is to ensure that key projects and operations are documented – lessons are learned, best practices are captured and opportunities are made visible. The After-Action-Review is one such example, is currently used by global companies after it was created to monitor and improve the performance of the US Army.
Disruptive innovation – Happening with the introduction of a new technology that ‘disrupts’ the overall marketplace. To make disruptive innovation happen a company must be continuously looking at trends and market insights, capturing and sharing them across teams with speed.
Architectural innovation. Could your company benefit from transferring skills and successful technology from one division to the other? This is the underlying idea behind architectural innovation – putting together different products or services, that were not combined before, to create something better. As studies show, one key facilitator of architectural innovation is the exploitation of accumulated knowledge. And this comes to show why having the right knowledge sharing processes and technologies in place is instrumental for driving organisational innovation.
Radical innovation. This might be what springs to mind when you think of innovation. It describes groundbreaking revolutions that are amongst the first of their kind. For example, the invention of the telephone and aeroplane were pieces of radical innovation that transformed the fields of communication and travel, respectively. When it comes to radical innovation, oversharing can pose risks and lead to accidental knowledge leakage. But when it happens inside the organisations, among members of the same team working on the innovation, it can lead to enhancements in innovation speed and financial performance.
Companies need to stay one step ahead of their competitors to become market leaders. To do this, they will need to decide which of the four innovation types is most attainable and relevant to their growth plan. It is not always realistic for companies to attempt radical innovation, for example.
As discussed by Castaneda and Cuellar, knowledge sharing is almost essential for innovation attempts to be successful—the latter is unlikely to happen without the former. This is true no matter the innovation type.
If a company is on a mission to build something better than what itself and competitors are currently offering, that’s going to require the knowledgeable input of multiple people from different areas of the company. This is especially true when attempting a risky piece of disruptive innovation that relies on accurate execution.
At the core of knowledge sharing is the company’s need to make the exchange of expertise as easy as possible. For many modern outfits, this might involve setting up a digital platform that makes knowledge sharing easy. If this is the case, there will need to be a dedicated team that oversees the building of the platform.
Companies that take innovation and knowledge sharing seriously have already implemented platforms that help staff to share and find insights faster. From creating a central base for all market insights and customer knowledge to being able to find the right information by keywords, platforms such Elium integrate with the most common workplace applications to make knowledge sharing a breeze.
If your company invests in a central knowledge-sharing platform that is accessible to everyone, you will be one step closer to facilitating innovation in your company.
Here are a few ways in which knowledge sharing tools like Elium can help drive internal and external innovation:
What are the results you can expect if you start your knowledge sharing journey? Let’s run through a few quick examples of key outcomes:
As shown, there is an undeniably strong correlation between effective knowledge sharing between enthusiastic team members and improved innovation efforts.
If you want to start your knowledge sharing journey and boost innovation capabilities in your company, Elium could be right for you. Let’s get in touch over a quick call and discuss how you can unlock knowledge sharing and innovation inside your organisation.