An innovation is a new and better way of doing things. It can be subtle and incremental, such as a simple change in how something has always been done. For example, the simple process of reversing the direction the barb is twisted in barbed wire was an innovation that made it much safer for people to handle it.
At the other end of the spectrum, an innovation can be radical and disruptive. Such is the case for the iPhone, which disrupted the telecommunications industry and created the category for smartphones.
You can think of innovation as the implementation of disruptive changes to enable a company to meet its goals. These changes can be as costly as acquiring equipment, or as simple as restructuring work routines.
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