What is Innovation?

Official International Definitions

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

The OECD definition:

  • “Innovation activities are all scientific, technological, organisational, financial and commercial steps which actually, or are intended to lead, to the implementation of innovations.”

The Oslo Manual

The Oslo Manual definition:

  • “An innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations.”

Other Definitions

Innovation is the production and dissemination of a new element for the market or for a company that requires risk-taking and responds to specific needs or uses. It benefits the company, its partners and end users, as it turns out to match emerging uses. And it is a source of progress for society. Innovation is therefore both an action, a process and the result/s of this action.

Four Categories of Innovation

  • Product innovation: creation or improvement of a good or service
  • Process innovation: creation or improvement of production or delivery method
  • Organisational innovation: introducing a new organisational method into the firm's business practices, workplace organisation or external relations
  • Marketing innovation: new marketing methods

Social Innovation

In its Guide to Social Innovation (2013), the European Commission defines social innovation as such:

  • “Social innovation can be defined as the development and implementation of new ideas (products, services and models) to meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations. Social innovations are innovations that are social in both their ends and their means.”