Business Innovation – Core Competency and Competitive Advantage

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

Core Competency and Competitive Advantage

A core competence is one which critically underpins the organisation’s competitive advantage. Companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors with specific core competencies, but often not for long. The differentiation is difficult to sustain and can often be imitated by competitors.

The integration (and attainment) of constituent skills that is the distinguishing mark of a core competence, is achieved and sustained through developing strong dynamic capabilities, particularly in a world of innovation based competition.

Whilst a core competence is a source of competitive advantage, not all competitive advantages arise from core competencies.

Often seemingly unassailable advantages prove transitory because of a change of underlying factors.

The very existence of competitive advantage sets in motion creative innovations that, as competitors strive to level the playing field, cause the advantage to dissipate.

Recognition of, and adaptation, to change is thus a pre-requisite of successful strategy. For many organisations, the only truly sustainable advantage comes from out-innovating the competition.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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