Innovation can be simple

There are few words as present in the vocabulary of the business world today as innovation. The urgency to offer new solutions to old problems has become a predicate of almost every company that seeks visibility, social value and, of course, conditions to attract customers, investors. However, the focus on architecting increasingly sophisticated solutions, with the precious help of new technologies, hides the understanding that innovation can actually be something simple, practical and uncomplicated.

This is a reasoning I have carried with me since I started venturing into the news specializing in business, technology and innovation, more than a decade ago. Knowing and researching about the initiatives that have reached some degree of renewal in their services and activities, I realized that it is not just factors such as the growing digitization or the democratization of internet access that drive the creation of new solutions.

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Innovation is a tool of human creativity that takes your endeavors forward — and this has always been there.

Ariano Suassuna, a genius of our literature, used to praise the clothes peg enthusiastically in his lectures. With his boastful humor, he held up the small object, described it, and praised it precisely because these two polished splinters of wood held together by a metal managed to reconcile simplicity and efficiency. He did this to illustrate human creativity, but I believe the household appliance is an example of an ingenious, creative, and inexpensive solution to dealing with an mundane but stressful task like hanging clothes on the clothesline.

The catch also allows us to see the multiple ways we approach technology to solve problems. Technology, after all, is not just about complex systems, universes made from augmented reality, drones or artificial intelligences, but about different mechanisms used by people for their own development.

The human being, after all, only understands himself as such based on his relationship with technology. From the first moment we made the first bricks from clay in the construction of the first civilizations until it became possible to connect people through the telephone, making use of electrical waves that are transformed into sound waves.

It is natural that when we talk about innovation what comes to mind is the technological fascination that has been with us for some years now. The new economy, fueled by an algorithmic performativity as complex as it is mysterious, offers interesting solutions to our current demands, such as delivery applications that collect information about their location and preferences and connect users to specific restaurants. According to the Innovation Survey released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 2020, 33.6% of a universe of 117 thousand Brazilian companies with more than ten employees are considered innovative to some degree.

But I reiterate that not every initiative needs to resort to resources of this type. There are ways to innovate within certain limits, but still offering new looks to old practices. Developing different internal work methodologies, rethinking processes, changing approaches, all of this serves as an example of less valued, but still very valuable, facets of such innovation. New solutions, after all, will always exist, and you don’t need ambitious methods for that.

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Eduardo Cosomano is the founder of EDB Comunicação, an agency specializing in press relations and content production, and co-author of the book Departure from Master: strategies for buying and selling a startup, released by Editora Gente.

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