Authentic Innovation

Authentic Innovation is organic, personal, and incremental.

Characteristics of Authentic Innovation

So, the first characteristic of successful innovation is that it must be profitable. Products and services that do not deliver a profit are ones that fail to bring value to either the customer or the firm. If not enough people want to buy a product at a price that exceeds the cost of making it, it is not successful or useful. It might be an intriguing invention, but not an innovation.

Organic Innovation

Authentic innovation is organic, meaning it grows from a customer need. A technology, feature, or product function is designed to satisfy a gap in a customer’s service experience. Organic innovations are successful because customer insights drive research and development efforts within the firm.

Innovation is Personal

Nearly every purchase made by a human being has a personal element to it. We buy things and use services to add to our emotional enjoyment of life. Every purchase, and therefore every innovation, is personal.

Incremental Innovation

Incremental. Successful innovation that is authentic is incremental. I am guessing a lot of my colleagues will scream, “Heresy!” when they see that authentic innovation is incremental. In the field of new product development (NPD), we always train and discuss breakthrough, radical, and disruptive innovation as the ultimate, golden award and to such to seek such innovations unrelentingly. Yet, most companies and most individuals build success through incremental change. Consider the retrospective review completed at the end of each sprint in an Agile project. The team will make one change — only one — in their behaviors for the next sprint. The reason is that too many changes are hard to track and to verify improvement. Multiple changes can be confusing to the team members and customers alike.

What is Authentic Innovation?

Authentic innovation brings value to a market and to the producer by transforming ideas to profitable products and services. The characteristics of authentic innovation are organic, personal, and incremental. Successful innovations focus on customer needs before design and development of new technologies or features and don’t necessarily need to be brand new-to-the-world.

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About Me

I am inspired by writing, teaching, and coaching. I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. It brings me joy to help you build innovation leaders. I am an experienced professional with a passion for lifelong learning with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Computer and Information Decision Making. My credentials include PE (State of Louisiana), NPDP, PMP®, and CPEM, and I am a DiSC® certified facilitator. Contact me at or area code 281 + phone 280–8717 for more information on coaching for entrepreneurs and innovators.



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Teresa Kowal

Teresa Kowal

I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. My passion is innovation and helping others improve their new product development ecosystems.