Innovation can be defined in many ways; it is a broad concept. In general, people think about innovation as finding better ways of doing something, this would be incremental innovations. But there are also transformative and disruptive innovations, which usually create new markets and totally different ways of doing things.
Regardless of the many definitions, innovation is a trendy concept that is now on everyone’s lips, but what is needed to succeed through innovation?
- Creativity is the heart that drives the innovative process. It is necessary if you want to transgress previously established ideas and it is also essential to think outside the box. But being creative does not mean being an inventor, it implies seeing beyond what is taken for granted.
- Research and development are the brain of innovation, this part is in charge of building this process on a stable foundation. They set up logical criteria on which creativity can be developed.
- Diffusion is about making your innovative findings known. You will really know if your innovation has been successful when people know about it. At that moment, they will have the opportunity to test it and give you their opinion. It is a key process although in many cases it is forgotten.
If we focus on this last point, we will agree that the pandemic triggered by SARS-CoV-2 has revealed a communication revolution. Influenced by social media and the easy access to the internet, new communication strategies are being developed, and the pandemic has accelerated this natural process, especially in relation to science. Science and its divulgation are at a turning point, gaining more and more news coverage.
In times of crisis, like the one we are experiencing, it is necessary to transgress the conventional. Creativity, research and development are used to break down pre-set criteria and establish new standards. But, if we want that all these new findings and advances have a real impact, they need to reach society and be known.
However, explaining relevant information using specialized knowledge is not easy. This is what scientific divulgation is about, aiming to bridge the gap between the scientific world and society, opening a channel that allows people to integrate scientific knowledge into their culture. In other words, divulgation is the channel for transmitting innovation to the world.
We must not forget that, as we are all part of the same economic flow, it is important that everyone knows about our advances and innovations. Some years ago, few seemed to care about budget cuts in science or health until the pandemic broke out, and that was because no one felt these fields were relevant to them. However, due to this pandemic the general public has been finally able to understand the importance of science and if we don’t want to be the next expendable field, we cannot leave it to chance. It is important to communicate our progress clearly and rigorously, making sure everyone understands the latest advances in our sectors. If we do not let innovation reach society, it will lose half of its meaning, because less people would benefit from the latest and most revolutionary advances.