Why innovation matters to Millennials

Limestone College Business

According to a 2016 Deloitte survey, “Millennials judge the performance of a business based on what it does and how it treats people.” Among those who say a business means more than profit, innovation ranks highly as one of the key attributes they look for in an employer.

But why is innovation important to Millennials?

There are several reasons. For many Millennials, innovation signifies that a business is open-minded toward new ideas and focused on solving real consumer or societal problems. This appeals to a Millenial’s desire to make an impact or work towards a particular cause. Similarly, innovative companies are often at the forefront of technology, which appeals to the inherent tech savvy Millennial generation. Also, the innovative process is often seen as an opportunity to turn a creative idea into a competitive advantage, which appeals to their sense of entrepreneurialism.

Despite its perceived importance, the term innovation often carries some ambiguity among college students. Generally, innovation refers to a process of implementing new ideas to create value for an organization. In business, innovation is particularly critical as it’s one of the key factors for growth. Think of Apple and its success with the iPad.

However, while innovation is often attributed to new ideas, in some ways this notion misrepresents the proactive and laborious process innovation requires to not only come up with an idea but to implement it. That’s where innovation management and strategy come into play.

In his Harvard Business Review article “You Need an Innovation Strategy,” Garry Pisano, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, wrote:

An organization’s capacity for innovation stems from an innovation system: a coherent set of interdependent processes and structures that dictates how the company searches for novel problems and solutions, synthesizes ideas into a business concept and product designs, and selects which projects get funded.” 

Ensuring that this system functions as it should requires a dedicated effort from management, and today there is much buzz about the managerial tools businesses use for this purpose.

Limestone students earning a bachelors in business administration take BA 300 Principles of Management as part of their core requirements. This course examines the various functions of management that students can use to help direct the innovative process. Some of the management functions covered in this course include planning, directing, controlling, organizing, staffing, communicating, and decision-making.

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