Innovation is one of the most powerful tools a business can wield in today’s ever-changing market. When leveraged properly, it can help you identify opportunities and threats, contend with competition, disrupt incumbent companies, and capture customer interest.

While some talk of innovators as though they’re born with a natural ability or gift, the truth is that everyone has the potential to become more innovative—all it takes is the right practice, training, support, and development.

Below is a collection of resources organized into four categories that can help you learn about and harness innovation.

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Resources to Help Drive Business Innovation

To Help You Lay the Foundation

If you’re new to innovation, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed; there are many frameworks, terms, and concepts you can leverage. Before diving too far into the details of how specific methodologies work, it’s helpful to develop a foundational understanding of innovation.

With this in mind, the following articles, blog posts, and guides can help you understand what innovation is, how to come up with innovative business ideas, and different steps you can take to develop your innovation skills:

As you read through this content and begin learning various frameworks, evaluate how well you’re absorbing the information. If you find you’re not retaining it well, you may benefit from a more structured learning approach, such as an online business innovation course. An online course could help you quickly learn the basics of innovation and put your knowledge into action.

While online learning isn’t the right choice for everyone, it does offer some distinct benefits. It allows you to learn on your own time and at your own speed, often at a lower cost than in-person options. Learning online can also enable you to attend an institution you may otherwise not be able to because of geographic limitations.

To Help You Understand Your Customers’ Jobs to Be Done

To innovate effectively, you should have a firm understanding of the need your product or service fulfills. This need forms the bedrock of the jobs to be done (JTBD) theory, championed by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen, on which much of modern business innovation is built.

If you’re unfamiliar with the theory, it asserts that customers don’t purchase a product or service; instead, they hire a product or service to complete a job that must be done. By understanding this framework, you can tailor your product development, messaging, and marketing and sales practices to more effectively target your customers’ needs.

Here’s a list of resources you can use to familiarize yourself with the jobs to be done theory and begin thinking about your customers’ unique needs:

To Help You Harness the Power of Disruption

Another key concept you should know is disruptive innovation.

Like the jobs to be done framework, the theory of disruptive innovation was championed by Christensen. It describes a process whereby a new, often smaller company with fewer resources can challenge or disrupt established businesses by gaining market share at the bottom of a market, and then move its way up.

Understanding this theory can help new ventures identify opportunities to dethrone incumbents, established companies seeking to enter new markets, and incumbent businesses on the lookout for potential disruptors.

Here are several resources you can use to further your understanding of disruptive innovation:

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A Different Way to Learn About Innovation

Using the resources above can help you learn about innovation and the role it plays in business. If you want to take a more focused, structured approach to your education, completing an innovation course could be an effective means of doing so.

Disruptive Strategy is an online course designed to teach you the skills to turn an innovative idea into a reality. Over six weeks, you’ll delve into the jobs to be done and disruptive innovation frameworks, and learn how to apply your knowledge within your organization and craft winning strategies.

Want to learn more about the jobs to be done theory and other concepts from HBS Professor Clayton Christensen? Explore Disruptive Strategy, and discover how you can acquire the skills and techniques needed to assess opportunities and organize for innovation.

Tim Stobierski

About the Author

Tim Stobierski is a marketing specialist and contributing writer for Harvard Business School Online.