Innovation within the business context is the creation of new ideas the context of known constraints. It’s about exploiting a gap, an observed gap in the market, through the development of a new product or service that fulfils that gap.

It requires the application, implementation and exploitation of these ideas to deliver an intended business result, be it new customers, new markets, bigger margins or gaining a competitive advantage.

Further Information

The three types of innovation which people usually associate with are…

  • Service innovations such as the introduction of internet banking or credit cards.
  • Product innovations such as smart phones/watches and tablets.
  • Process innovations such as new manufacturing process that are needed to produce these new products.

There are two more often forgotten types of innovation, which are:

  • Business model innovation which is about making changes in how the company creates value for its customers and how the company captures the value from the innovation, an example of this would be Amazon, the internet bookstore.
  • Organisational innovation involves fundamental changes in practices, processes, and structure of how the activities within the business are managed. Examples are lean manufacturing, outsourcing, and supply chain.

There are also different levels of innovation.

Incremental Innovation (most common) – This type of innovation is about doing something that businesses are already good at, but making further incremental improvements.  An example of this would be the changes to the iPod; making it thinner, improving screen resolution etc. Companies, in general, are very good in incremental innovation.

Radical innovation (quite rare) – Radical innovation doesn’t happen frequently, but it does happen. An example of this would be the invention of internet, and introduction of internet, which actually created, almost, a new revolution.

Disruptive innovation – This type of innovation isn’t always better immediately but we see improvements in the long term, this can create challenges for some businesses because they’re inclined to ignore this technology and therefore can never adapt quickly enough. As example of this would be the invention of digital technology and the negative impact it had on Kodak and is core capabilities, despite Kodak being a part of this invention. This type of innovation generally starts out in a niche market.

Useful Links

Catapult Network are a network of world-leading technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK to support businesses in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services.

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. They are tasked to work with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.

Innovate UK Blog – Top Tips for Aspiring Inventors

Innovate UK video – Innovate UK’s Essential Grant Funding Tips for Startups & SMEs

Innovate UK Edge complements Innovate UK project funding with intensive, specialist-led support for ambitious businesses.

Intellectual Property Office operates the intellectual property system in the UK covering copyright, patents, designs and trade marks.

Knowledge Transfer Network support businesses in their innovation journey, including identifying strategic goals and innovation pathways. You can also search their events calendar.


To find out how the Growth Hub can help your business, contact our team today on 03456 047 047 or use our online form

business-support-icon-60px-01Business support programmes

    • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)
    • Devon and Somerset
    • The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.
    • Read more
    • Innovate UK Smart Grants
    • Devon and Somerset
    • Opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy. The funding competition closes on Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 11am.
    • Read more
    • European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications
    • Devon and Somerset
    • The vision of ESA Business Applications is to improve the lives of people on Earth through Space. We make this possible by enabling and supporting businesses in the short-term commercialisation and application of Space data and technology for everyday services.
    • Read more
    • Plymouth Materials Characterisation Project (PMCP)
    • Devon
    • Thanks to European Funding, PEMC is able to offer 40 Devon businesses free use of the FIB-SEM and their Technical Specialists, to aid their company, using an R&D approach to new product development.
    • Read more
    • Impact Lab - Devon
    • Devon
    • The Impact Lab provides deep technical assistance to Devon SMEs that have a big data and/or environmental future opportunity to address in order to grow to the next level. This is achieved through a substantial package of fully funded support which will be tailored to the need of your business and project.
    • Read more
    • Innovate UK
    • Devon and Somerset
    • If you want to develop an innovative product, process or service, you may be able to apply for funding of between £25,000 and £10 million through Innovate UK.
    • Read more
    • Growth Support Programme
    • Devon and Somerset
    • Please be aware that the Growth Support Programme ended on the 31 March 2021 and we are no longer be able to accept new enquiries. If you would like to join the waiting list for our next programme, please complete the registration form.
    • Read more
    • PATLIB UK - Intellectual Property Information Centre
    • Plymouth
    • Plymouth PatLib is based in Plymouth Central Library and is part of a national network of Intellectual Property (IP) Information Centres supported by the Intellectual Property Office. (IPO)
    • Read more
    • Business & Intellectual Property Centre (Exeter and Barnstaple Library)
    • Devon
    • Exeter Library is part of the Business and Intellectual Property Centre network. As a Business and Intellectual Property Centre they follow a programme and ethos developed by Business and Intellectual Property Centre at the British Library, London, providing support to business owners, entrepreneurs and inventors.
    • Read more
    • Innovate UK EDGE
    • Devon
    • Innovate Edge UK is the Innovation Agency's resource for innovative SME's from any sector who are ambitious to grow further and scale. It complements Innovate UK project funding with intensive, specialist-led support for ambitious businesses.
    • Read more
    • University of Plymouth – Enterprise Solutions
    • Devon
    • Plymouth Universities Enterprise Solutions offers a wide range of support to businesses. Enterprise Solutions is your gateway to accessing Plymouth University’s expertise, talent and facilities. Their aim is to give you the support you need, when you need it.
    • Read more

icon-events-60pxEvents and workshops

    • KTN | Insect Protein - Innovation and collaboration opportunities for Africa and the UK
    • 16 June 2021
    • If you’re interested in insect protein innovation in the UK or Africa, this event is for you. Insect protein could be a game changer when it comes to alternative protein sources, particularly for animal feed, but also for us to include in our diet. Insect protein has real potential to help the AgriFood sector to become more sustainable and reduce its environmental impact.
    • Read more
    • Made Smarter Innovation Network | Servitisation
    • 22 June 2021
    • This event is will explore servitization and how digital technologies and approaches can facilitate it, making exciting connections across the various communities, catalysing uptake - manufacturers, tech providers and servitization experts.
    • Read more
    • Made Smarter Innovation Network | Flexible Manufacturing
    • 29 June 2021
    • This event is will explore how digital technology can help manufacturers maintain efficiency and asset utilisation whilst offering the customer what they want.
    • Read more
    • Smart local energy systems: unlocking net zero
    • 19 July 2021
    • UKRI are hosting this major online event focusing on smart local energy systems, in alignment with Net Zero Week. Delegates will be able to hear expert speakers, view virtual booths showcasing challenge participants and funded projects, and network through 1:1 sessions.
    • Read more
    • SW Innovation Expo
    • 14 October 2021
    • Held at Sandy Park, Exeter on 14th October 2021, the SW Innovation Expo will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and investors for panel discussions, an interactive technology expo, Pitchfest competition and plenty of networking opportunities.
    • Read more

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