Innovation means the introduction of new ways of designing, producing or selling goods or services; it basically means creating a positive change in the existing state of affairs or, in relation to the literal meaning of the word, to alter the order of established things to do new things.
Innovation is one of the things that gives companies a better chance of success. In close contact with developments in scientific research and knowledge, and therefore with progress, it is a determining factor in a country’s economic growth.
Why is it important to innovate?
The entrepreneur must renew, that is, must be able to question himself as a manager and his company, seize the many inputs that come from outside or within the company to be in step with the new market conditions and to respond in an innovative way.
Innovation therefore means adhering to circumstances, to changes in the environment, to scientific discoveries, it means not losing sight of the market, observing and proposing concrete answers that are increasingly consistent with the needs of customers.
The entrepreneur who wants to succeed with innovation, must have these characteristics:
- be forward-thinking, that is to know how to identify in advance in their sector and realise solutions or ideas that have not been applied yet, or improve those that are already used;
- knowing how to collaborate and communicate;
- knowing how to use technology.
It should be noted, however, that innovation is not only the single brilliant idea of the entrepreneur but rather a challenge that concerns the whole company and all the staff working within it: from the entrepreneur, to the managers, to every employee.
It is desirable to innovate, because in this way material and non-material wealth is produced, the organisational and social models of companies and society are conditioned, forcing them to change over time.
There are different approaches to innovation depending on what you want to innovate and how you want to move forward with your innovation.
The main innovations can be classified as:
- in relation to the area of application;
- compared to the level of innovation.
Innovations generate new products, increased productivity, improved effectiveness, penetration of new markets, new communication and marketing strategies.
A start-up company, that is not yet established or that has been operating on the market for a short time, can decide to develop an innovative idea following mainly two ways:
- developing research and development within the enterprise (Make);
- acquire know how from outside (Buy).
The first option is to carry out research and development in the enterprise, from which an innovative idea can arise. This, of course, entails a long time for research results and, above all, high investment costs. It is therefore preferable to opt for the second route, namely, to acquire innovation from the outside.
On the contrary, an existing enterprise often has a very narrow view of innovation, identifying it exclusively as new product development and as research and development. In order to be able to make "business innovation" it is therefore necessary to change one or more dimensions of own business system. In order to understand the concept of company size, it is necessary to refer to the work of scholars Sawhney, Wolcott and Arroniz who propose a map (radar of innovation), in which are indicated all the directions in which your company can direct its innovation:
- the four main dimensions (the products and the services offered, the customers, the productive processes, the market);
- secondary dimensions (for example: organisation, suppliers, sales network, brand).
To be competitive, every business is called to deal day after day with the reality that surrounds it, especially when it’s called to look at the market. This means paying attention to the needs of their customers, to the answers that the market is offering them, to the possibilities that are still unexplored. Innovation also means taking risks and accepting the challenge of change.
For more information, visit the website of Sardegna Ricerche, dedicated to research and innovation.