Technical Innovation is the process of implementing new ideas, related with practical knowledge or experience, into a productive process.
Technical innovation results in lower production costs or greater value added. Lower production costs can arise from better production processes. Greater value added can arise from new features or higher quality.
After applying a productive method during a long period of time, organizations and business finds opportunities of improvement.
Differences between Technical Innovation and Technological Innovation
Technical innovation places emphasis in the application of practical knowledge (or techniques) into a particular discipline or function. While Technological innovation places emphasis into the application of scientific knowledge into productive processes.
Technical innovation usually is an incremental process that comes from the experience gained through the fulfillment of a productive process during a period of time. Technical innovation doesn’t depend on the advancement of science. In regard to technological innovation, scientific discoveries usually lead to technological innovation.
Generally, people whose work is close to productive processes is responsible of technical innovation, while technological innovation usually is more related to the academic and scientific field, in comparison with technical innovation.
Importance and Management of Technical Innovation
Technical innovations gives competitive advantages to business and can also result in benefits to the consumers, because of lower prices or better products.
When technical innovation is a systemic feature of an organization, it is an important strength of a company that, in the long run, can position a business as a leader in a sector.
An example of good management of technical innovation is the Japanese car maker Toyota. Toyota empowered it’s employees with tools and permission to solve issues as they occurred and to share the solutions with management. Changes in management of technical innovation resulted in a continuous flow of small increments of productivity and efficiency. Toyota became one of the most successful car makers in the world.
Management of Technical Innovation in Toyota is based on 2 fundamental principles:
Continuous improvement: all the employees are involved in technical innovation, from the CEO to the assembly line workers.
Go and see: to really understand a situation, you have to go to the ‘real’ place where things happen: it can be a factory or a sales hall. It means also to go and see how consumers behave in real world situations.
Summary and Conclusions
Technical innovation is related with the application of practical knowledge into a productive process. Technological innovation is the application of scientific knowledge.
Technical is an incremental process. The long term impact of technical innovation is the result of a sum of many small improvements in efficiency and productivity.
When technical innovation is a feature of a particular company, it becomes a strength of that company. Managers should seek process and systems that favor technical innovation in all business areas.