To illustrate better what innovation means for several companies, I will give you a few study cases as inspiration for you to build strategies and innovation programs. One example would come from one of my former employer. They have an Incubator platform where everyone can propose their new software idea by writing a pitch and the company or the sales person would try to find a market for it or try to implement it.
Adobe Kickbox is another good example. They runs an innovation program – a red box containing a number of items for employees to pursue as their next big idea. It contained a Starbucks gift card, post it notes, chocolate bars and instruction materials (checklists & templates) and a 1000$ prepaid credit card, so that each employee can request such a box and be the CEO of their own ideas. Adobe did this when they where shifting their business model from selling retail software boxes to cloud-based software subscription.
At Google, each employee is encouraged to offer ideas, suggestions and solutions and they have a 10x philosophy – innovate and provide a solution that is 10 times, rather than 10% better than what is currently available (radical vs. incremental improvement; paradigm shifts vs. small changes).
Another approach would be to consider external parties as a source of innovation – benefiting from external teams such as company partners, distributors and consumers. This concept is called “open innovation” and it refers to inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation.