How Entrepreneurs Encounter Opportunity – Methods of Innovation

Cite this article as:"How Entrepreneurs Encounter Opportunity – Methods of Innovation," in The Business Professor, updated July 15, 2014, last accessed June 7, 2020,
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Methods of Innovation - Entrepreneurship
This video explores methods of innovation by entrepreneurs.

Next Article: Prior Experience in Opportunity Identification


Innovation is the Introduction of Something New

The something that is introduced can be an idea, method, or device.  Too often people associate innovation with technological inventions. On the contrary, innovation is most common in the form of innovative new services, whether technical or no. There are several common methods used to innovate in business or specifically entrepreneurship.

Solving A Problem: Identifying a problem that exists either in general with the public at large or with a particular individual.  This type of innovation is often referred to as “finding the pain or hurt”.

Improving on an Existing Product or Service:  Any product or service addresses or attempts to address an already recognized pain or hurt.  This type of innovation deals with improving the existing product or service to remedy the pain or hurt in a faster, more efficient, more complete, or more cost-efficient manner.

Combining Ideas:   Often one product will come about and solve several pains or hurts. This means coming up with a product or service that removes or lessens the need for more than one other product or service.  For example, the idea of the smartphone came about from the combination of several relevant devices.

Brand New Innovation: This is an idea that comes up with some form of unique or previously undeveloped thought. Take Facebook, for example.  This innovative product addresses a need or want that most never realized existed prior to Facebook’s advent.

Random Discovery: This is the idea that comes about by happenstance without active or directed search for an idea.  This is not a type of innovation that can be planned.  However, keeping one’s mind open to potential ideas is an absolute necessity for this type of idea generation.

Directed Innovation: This is most commonly associated with a particular line of research or exploration.  Developing pharmaceuticals is an example of this type of innovation.  Often the effects and benefits of drugs are unexpected results of long-term scientific study.

Philosophical Innovation: This type of innovation is best exemplified within the academic arena.  A PhD is a doctorate degree in philosophy.  The role of the PhD is adding some kind of innovative thought to a particular area or field.  The innovation may be theoretical or procedural.  While this type of innovation is not closely related to a product or service that is ready for commerce, it often leads to manners of though or paradigms that are useful to the entrepreneurial or business community.

Conclusion:  Understanding the theory of innovation provides the entrepreneur with a framework from which to ideate.

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