Beginner's Guide to understanding Digital Innovation

When you have a necessity, you go past the tradition, overcome insecurities, push the limits, go beyond anyone’s imagination, and eventually, a marriage of creativity, requirement, and skills gives birth to what is otherwise known as “Innovation”.

Quite dramatic, agreed. Yet it is true for the digital realm.

Each year many companies push their limits for their Digital Innovation to stand out.

Whether by design or by default, the bottom line is Digital Transformation is the heart of your digital initiatives and Digital Innovation is the soul. Without them both, nothing worthwhile happens.

In this post, we will explore Digital Innovation to get an idea of what it is, why is it important, we will also bust some misconceptions associated with it, and few examples to get a better perspective.

What is Digital Innovation?

Digital Innovation is the application of new technology to overcome existing problems, improve processes, and enhance user experience by creating new products or methods.

Every few years, we see a new wave that changes the business landscape. With each passing wave of change, the cycle gets shorter and the adoption rate grows exponentially.

In the early 20th century the telephone took a decade to reach from 0.6 million to 6.0 million users but with smartphones, we have over 5 billion users in just a matter of a few years.

Organizations today are open towards innovation and are innovating at a breathtaking pace. The magic of Digital Innovation is no longer limited to just tech-savvy companies.


We are living in exciting times as the new wave of technologies is creating a significant impact in the early stage and the future looks bright.

These technologies are:-

  • Artificial intelligence and Predictive Analytics
  • AI-powered automation
  • Robotics
  • 3D printing
  • Nanotech
  • IoT (Internet of things)
  • AR/VR (Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality)
  • 5G

In this era, every other organization is a tech company as they are under the influence of the digital medium in one way or the other. Traditional businesses are changing their ways to stay relevant in modern times by ensuring fundamental transformation and innovation, while modern businesses are pushing the envelope to stand out.

Read More:- Top digital trends of 2020

Why Digital Innovation is important?

59% of the organizations feel that they are already late with their digital efforts. This a matter of serious concern as not adapting to change at the earliest could have an adverse effect at a later stage.

Most organizations find innovation difficult because they fear change, assuming  that they will lose their existing clients and market share. But the truth is quite otherwise.

Fear is the mortal enemy of creativity, innovation, and happiness – Alex Bogusky

Let’s consider the example of one of the biggest and most successful cellphone companies of the previous decade that failed because of fear of innovation.

Yes, we are talking about Nokia. A brand that dominated the cellphone market up until 2008 and crumbled by 2011.

Nokia, over the years, focused too much on its hardware and not much on the software. With the advent of 2007, smartphones with software advancements and improved customer experience dominated and Nokia not capitalizing on it made things worse for them.

That is not to say that Nokia was not innovative at all. Their innovation was restricted to their hardware and not with the software or experience. By the time they could amend their mistake, it was too late and by 2011 they were only left with a 3% market share

Part of the reason is that they didn’t want to disappoint the customers by doing something new. Although, historically, Nokia is famous for innovation as in the 90’s they sold most of their conglomerate business to enter the cellphone market and they dominated it.


The lesson that we learn is never to stop innovating even if you have a strong brand value.

Giants like Kodak, Hitachi, and Toshiba missed the mark just because of their delayed approach and fear of innovation.

Being afraid of change is understandable but outright writing it off will hamper the growth of the organization.

Rather than being averse to change, organizations must evaluate their options in collaboration with stakeholders and must take necessary action

Difference between Digital Innovation and Digital Transformation

Often, Digital Innovation is often mistaken as Digital Transformation and vice-versa. Both these terms are used interchangeably but are different. Both are inclusive of each other and one could lead to another - innovation can lead to transformation and transformation can pave way for innovation.


Modern business owners and leaders must understand the difference between the two as they are the ones who make crucial decisions.

  • Innovation happens all of sudden, it is like spark that take place once in a while but when it occurs it takes a system by storm. On the other hand, Digital Transformation takes time, it is a defined process that implements a well-structured strategy that incorporates traditional and innovative technology to bring about a fundamental change.
  • Innovation occurs because of creativity and in most cases, the initial occurrence takes place at a small scale, while transformations are powered by a strategy that may have components of innovation but is usually focused to improve the engagement, infrastructure, culture, and most important of all meet customers demands.

Bring Change With Innovation

Innovations can enable organizational, industrial, and social change. For example:- The concept of Digital Adoption Platform, or DAP, came into being about a decade ago and since 2016 the existence of what we now call a Modern DAP came to the picture which disrupted the field of Learning & Development.

Today, people can be trained on any application irrespective of their location. User is not bound by time and can learn at their own pace. Specific knowledge can be imparted to a specific user at any given time.


Organizations can analyze the effectiveness of the deployed application and provided training from anywhere around the globe using the Digital adoption platform.

All this became possible because organizations, large and small, went through the transformation to accommodate innovations like these.

Innovation could occur post the the transformation phase as well and could challenge the existing or established system. For example- DAP  changed the landscape of L&D and since this occurred most of the organization reinventing their methods and trying to utilize DAP to its full potential which is leading to innovation within and across the industry.

Once a solution like DAP becomes part of users routine, it becomes easy to train them with new applications and guide them through new updates. Product Adoption becomes easy.

It makes things easier for both, the user and the organization, as companies can bring necessary changes to the application and users can consume them without being dependent.

Here DAP is the innovation and how businesses adapted this technology to make the training process easy is transformation.

What are the benefits of Digital Innovation?


  • Disrupts industries and bring a tsunami of change in the process.
  • Once the innovative spark is generated, it enables collaboration, interaction, skill enhancements, change in modules, approach and provides a possible foundation of Digital Transformation
  • Boosts ROI and helps to save on essential resources.
  • Facilitates an atmosphere of competition among different organizations which further creates room for innovation.
  • The competition enables better facilities to the customers at a better price.

The Way Ahead…

Innovation is just like a new magic trick that excites people. It could be a rare or a regular event but that depends on the process in place.

Businesses are changing at a breakneck speed and they have to innovate to stay relevant in the age of digital evolution. 

Stay on top of current trends and technologies to stand out in the market. Bring your teams together, encourage ideas, and in turn, create a culture that pushes the envelope each year with innovation.

Digital innovation can bring about endless possibilities, if only done the right way.


Krishnan Kaushik
Written by Krishnan Kaushik

Krishnan is the author of L&D, ERP, and CRM solutions for Apty. He has 3 years of experience in IoT and Digital transformation. He is passionate about marketing and in love with Google SERPs He is also passionate about the Economy. You can find him on twitter @IAM_krish_v and can challenge him for a match of chess.

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