Businesses exist in dynamic and competitive environments nowaways. Thus, the number onestrategic goal of businesses is to gain and maintain competitive advantage. By programs of continuous improvements companies try to reduce costs, to enhance quality, and to increasespeed of responsiveness to customer needs. Additionally, most businesses have some sort of innovation program on their agenda to stay ahead of (or at least keep in pace with) their competitors.Still, finding a common ground on what innovation is and what business elements to consider when implementing innovation seems intricate. The research on the topic of this term paper reveals a wide range of terms associated with innovation. Some examples are 'research anddevelopment (R&D)', 'product innovation', 'corporate entrepreneurship', 'intrapreneur','inventorpreneur', 'think tanks', 'continuous improvement', 'change program', 'market research','systems engineering' and 'optimization process'.This term paper lays the fundamentals to
understand innovation and its implementation
in businesses independent from the type of business on a strategic level.
A gateway to innovation is the success story of the manufacturing company 3M. One of theaward-winning products of the last century is the Post-it® note developed by two employeesof 3M. In 1968 the researcher Spencer Silver developed an adhesive that was 'not working properly' as a glue. So he tried marketing his product within 3M to discover a use for his non-adhesive glue. Unfortunately his mission was without immediate success. Years later, the product developer Arthur Fry found a meaningful purpose for the 'non-working' thing.Subsequently 3M worked out a product to be marketed. Since then 3M's notes have been soldworldwide in 400 different variations of the original product (3M 2002: 38-40).Innovation can be a function of an area or areas within a corporation whereas functions are performed by a diverse range of employees. Although the original product itself wasdeveloped in a research department, the latter idea for use of the product was the result of aneed that arose by one person. Needless to say that the consequential implementation was a3