From ArticleWorld

Innovation in science is what bridges the gap between ideas in theoretical science and technology in the laboratory, and the world of commerce and industry. Simply put, innovation turns science into a commercially viable, money-making operation. Sometimes, radical innovations are blocked, or their importance played down in order to protect the long-term interests of current business. Innovation is a balancing act between the sometimes competing needs of society, big business, government, entrepreneurs and researchers. The field is thus studied not only in the and industrial psychology, but also in economics, business, public policy, and sociology.

Types of innovation

There are generally thought to be four types of innovation. Marketing innovation remains a common way to spruce up the brand image of a product or user perception of an object through advertising and information campaigns as well as new packaging, logo etc.

Product innovation allows the commercial introduction of significantly improved or cheaper products, such as the advances in chip technology that bring down the price and often improve functionality and ease of use of laptops and digital cameras every few months.

Process innovation enables a company to produce better quality products and services more efficiently and optimally.

Financial innovation is of two kinds. One is where companies in the financial services sector offer improvements on basic services such as consumer financing and credit. The other occurs when firms or individuals of any kind make changes to their financial management policies and practices, like about liquidity, say, or exploit loopholes in taxation law.

Organizational innovation happens when an existing organization introduces new business practices or makes changes to its functioning and structure to increase efficiency, often by adopting new strategies from management consulting, or when a consortium forms a new organization to forward its interests, such as the formation of OPEC in 1965 by oil producing countries.

Incubators for innovation

It is often difficult to separate the user-led push for innovation versus the supply-driven one, but innovations in the past has arisen from both research and development units that exist to optimize the output of manufacturing, marketing, and service cells of industries, as well as consumers who want better goods and services and willing to try their hand at entrepreneurship. Open-source is considered the new face of business practices and strategies to encourage innovation without a huge financial outlay.

Impact and effects

Some disruptive innovations cause profound breaks in existing patterns of business, while others, incremental and sustaining, improve products over time, ensuring that consumers keep coming back, such as with mobile and satellite phones.

Truly radical innovations are sometimes blocked or discouraged in a variety of ways, such as the General Motors' moratorium on serious aerodynamics research in the 1930s. This is because if a product is improved to near-perfection and durability, its manufacturers would go out business fairly soon. This often leads to conflicts between researchers and designers, and business owners and industry strategists, such as happens in debates about Form follows function. Some people allege that innovation in alternative technology such as hydrogen vehicles and alternative fuel cells is downplayed by the marketing innovation of large oil and automobile companies.