Difference Between Change and Innovation

Key Difference – Change vs Innovation

The key difference between change and innovation is that change is the difference in a state of affairs related to different points of time whereas innovation is something original and new, being introduced to the world. It can be new ideas, new devices or new processes. Change is regarded to be permanent, and all  things in the universe are thought to change. Change is inevitable for development and growth. Innovation is also crucial as it opens new possibilities. Change drives innovation and innovation drives change. Innovation creates endless opportunities and the change assists in making use of such endless opportunities.

What is Change?

Change can be defined as the “difference in a state of affairs related to different points of time”. Time dictates change, so the change needs to be conceptualized at different stages of a certain factor. It may be organizational or personal. The change could be an act of making (intentional) or becoming (natural). Change always would have two stages. One is the previous or old stage, and the other is the new stage (after the change). Knowledge of both stages is a prerequisite to confirm a change has taken place. It’s a comparison of different stages and evaluation of the differences between such stages. The change could have been positive or negative. iPhone 5 has been replaced with iPhone 6 which is a good example of change.

Change can be looked in different context. We will be looking at it in a management context. Management is the process of planning, organizing, monitoring and controlling in order to achieve organization goals through effective use of available scarce resources. The element of controlling is all about change, and it creates a never ending cycle. If the present results are not in line with the objectives of the organization, new plans are devised and carried forward which is a change in the management context. But, change is not the purpose of management. Change is unintentional and occurs naturally in the process of management.

In management, a value can be identified for the change. This will reflect how good or bad the change has been for the organization. For example, product change could have triggered 10% increase in profit which can be considered the value of change.

key difference - change vs innovation

What is Innovation?

Innovation can be new ideas, new devices or new processes. It can be defined as something original and new being introduced to the world. In a management context, Peter Drucker (2002) has noted that innovation is a specific function of entrepreneurship and its ability to create new wealth, producing resources or improving the wealth creation ability of existing resources. Innovation can be intentional or accidental. Innovation is not a value addition, but the a creation of new value. Innovation begins with the analysis of the sources of new opportunities. The opportunities are the unsatisfied needs. Through innovation, these needs are being satisfied.

 Innovation is said to be an independent factor. It can’t be judged as it will not have any close or related product to be compared with as it’s new and invented to satisfy an unsatisfied need. So, it’s independent in nature. Further, it’s believed that innovation stems from perceptional change rather than reality change. Reality change is a continuous and natural process. But, perception or imaginary change is discontinuous, unrelated and new. This creates revolutionary ideas which in turn lead to innovation. For example, the perceptional change of how we can travel lead to the invention of aircraft. The aircraft had no comparison as only road vehicles were present at that time, so we can understand the independent factor of innovation also in this case.Difference between change and innovation

What is the difference between Change and Innovation?

As we have looked at the detailed descriptive details of both change and innovation, now we will compare between them to identify the key differences between these two terms.

Definition of Change and Innovation

Change: The difference in a state of affairs related to different points of time.

Innovation: Innovation is something original and new, being introduced to the world. It can be new ideas, new devices or new processes.

Characteristics of Change and Innovation


Change: Previous knowledge and resources are required for a change to happen.

Innovation: Previous knowledge is not necessary for innovation to happen.


Change: Change is comparable with a previous situation or product and is relative in nature.

Innovation: Innovation is not easily comparable as it does not have near factors to be compared with as it’s unrelated in


Change: Change will only improve on the ability to satisfy a need which already has a solution. Change will not assist in answering an unsatisfied

Innovation: Innovation will be the answer to satisfy an unsatisfied need which did not have a solution earlier.


Change: Change is a continuous and natural process of adoption and efficiency improvement.

Innovation: Innovation is discontinuous in nature and usually originates from perceptional change.


Drucker, P (2002). Discipline of Innovation.Haravrd Business Review, August.