Innovation is a change in the thought process for doing something or "new stuff that is made useful".

[1] It may refer to incremental emergent or radical and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations. Following Schumpeter (1934), contributors to the scholarly literature on innovation typically distinguish between invention, an idea made manifest, and innovation, ideas applied successfully in practice. In many fields, such as the arts, economics and government policy, something new must be substantially different to be innovative. In economics the change must increase value, customer value, or producer value. The goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better. Innovation leading to increased productivity is the fundamental source of increasing wealth in an economy. Innovation is an important topic in the study of economics, business, entrepreneurship, design, technology, sociology, and engineering. Colloquially, the word "innovation" is often synonymous with the output of the process. However, economists tend to focus on the process itself, from the origination of an idea to its transformation into something useful, to its implementation; and on the system within which the process of innovation unfolds. Since innovation is also considered a major driver of the economy, especially when it leads to new product categories or increasing productivity, the factors that lead to innovation are also considered to be critical to policy makers. In particular, followers of innovation economics stress using public policy to spur innovation and growth. A convenient definition of innovation from an organizational perspective is given by Luecke and Katz (2003), who wrote: "Innovation . . . is generally understood as the successful introduction of a new thing or method . . . Innovation is the embodiment, combination, or synthesis of knowledge in original, relevant, valued new products, processes, or services. A content analysis on the term "innovation" carried out by Baregheh et al. (2009) within the organizational context, defines innovation as: "Innovation is the multi-stage process whereby organizations transform ideas into new/improved products, service or processes, in order to advance, compete and differentiate themselves successfully in their marketplace."[3] Innovation typically involves creativity, but is not identical to it: innovation involves acting on the creative ideas to make some specific and tangible difference in the domain in which the innovation occurs. For example, Amiable et al. (1996) propose: "All innovation begins with creative ideas . . . We define innovation as the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization. In this view, creativity by individuals and teams is a starting point for innovation; the first is necessary but not sufficient condition for the second". The business reasons for open source as presented tend to have a more tactical focus. Let's now look at an example of how open source might support a larger business strategy. Most companies are not large enough to influence the direction of their own markets, and few companies are able to design products that truly serve their customers. Most companies find they need to fine-tune designs and products over a series of releases. Some companies use time to introduce products: The Saturn car company started by introducing inexpensive but high-value cars that appealed to young adults just starting out in their careers, and, while learning the tastes and values of that generation, Saturn has introduced new models that reflect the increasing affluence of its core customer base. This is an example of using the world outside the corporation as a source of innovation. Software companies using open source can perhaps exploit this strategy in its most pure form. So, what is the strategy? To simplify the discussion, let's consider only companies that produce technology products. The Innovation Happens Elsewhere (IHE) strategy begins by recognizing where the company's proprietary value lies. Everything outside this inner circle of protected ideas and technology is available for instigating outside innovation beneficial to the company. The primary goal of the strategy is to increase the number of potential customers--that is, the size of the market available to the company. To do this, the IHE company tries to create more products in the market that either are enablers for the products the IHE company sells or form an aftermarket for them. Rather than trying to accomplish this alone, the IHE company tries to encourage other companies or organizations to do this work--but for their own purposes.
FIGURE 4.1. The Innovation Happens Elsewhere strategy

FIGURE 4.2. Sun's NetBeans IHE strategy