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A packed programme of innovation is key to business survival. Here we look at why it’s so important.
Businesses that don’t wholeheartedly embrace innovation will soon fall behind in their market. There are so many excellent reasons to be creative and innovative, and businesses that don’t are putting themselves at a serious disadvantage. Here we take a look.
By definition, when you innovate you create something new. Without innovation there is therefore no learning, no progress and nothing ever changes. When you translate this into a business, over time that business will stagnate, lose its competitive edge and eventually fail. This then has a negative impact on the local economy and on society.
Innovation is at the heart of modern life. Although undesirable consequences can and do arise, the changes that innovation brings are largely very positive.
As mentioned, innovation is crucial to stay competitive and gaining market share. It means your business can anticipate market changes more effectively, and quickly take advantage of key opportunities. It also helps you stand out in the crowd.
The appetite for innovation is also stronger among companies that keep their finger on the pulse. Who continuously analyse market trends, listen to their customers, staff and suppliers and who always keep one eye on their competitors. These companies also tend to look at what’s happening overseas in their industry, gaining fresh ideas from what leading companies are doing abroad.
When there’s little drive to innovate, change can become an uphill struggle. By willingly embracing a new direction - potentially at short notice - the business is then better able to respond to rapid market changes, giving rise to a brand new business opportunity. By taking a flexible approach to project management and development, you can encourage innovation that reflects the market, instead of rigidly carrying on.
Developing a brand new product or service will always bring challenges and even the best laid plans can go awry. Managers and team leaders won’t always have all the answers, and the very best solutions occur when teams are free to work through these challenges together. Teams that feel suffocated in their creativity, or who aren’t encouraged to experiment, won’t be inspired to innovate. When the company puts its faith on their project teams to deliver, a new culture that embraces creativity and innovation will start to form.
This is particularly the case with much larger, long-standing organisations which can often be less dynamic in their pace of change. Sluggish processes where decisions aren’t made swiftly are not conducive to effective innovation. They also tend to bring about communication issues and a wariness of new technologies. Smaller businesses and start-ups suffer with this sluggishness much less, which tends to boost the efficiency and quality of their innovation projects.
The fact is that smaller businesses tend to be more agile simply because they have fewer staff and less complex processes. They don’t have long-established (often cumbersome) hierarchies and there’s far less bureaucracy too. Opportunities for collaboration come about when all the employees know each other, and there’s less aversion to change, and risk.
Innovation is great, as long as whatever it is you’re creating is actually what your customers want and need. New products and services often fail because although they look amazing but don’t actually serve the right purpose. For an innovative project to be a success, it’s essential to gain customer feedback at every stage along the way. Innovation is also a great opportunity to find out where other areas of the company are in fact hitting the spot, and where improvements could be made.
Imagine your company has come up with a brand new product or service that meets a range of customer demands. You’ve ploughed a substantial amount of money into it and devised a killer sales and marketing strategy. But in the months afterwards it turns out that the innovation wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. A product suffers failures with several parts or a service doesn’t turned out as you planned. Now is the time to consider what this disappointing turn will do for future breakthroughs. Employees may be more scared to fail in future, therefore shying away from risks and losing confidence to try anything new. This will stifle creativity, so make sure your team knows they should pick things up and try again. Sure, failure can be expensive – but it’s also where innovation thrives.
Innovation can mean you don’t have to spent time fire-fighting, instead allowing you to reduce waste and focus on longer term goals. Many of our clients have achieved operational efficiencies by wasting less materials, cutting machinery down time and eliminating production bottlenecks.
Finding new ways to slash wasted time and resource is top of the agenda for every company, especially in these difficult times. Not only will this save money but can also increase competitiveness and improve customer relations.
Whether you’ve already got a comprehensive R&D strategy in progress or you’re just starting out from scratch, the experts at Myriad Associates are here to help.
We work across the field of innovation funding, with years of experience in R&D Tax Credits and R&D Grants specifically. We will work alongside you for as long as you need us, whether you require support in creating an effective R&D department, or in planning a particular R&D project. We’ll also be able to discuss which funding options would best suit your needs, helping your R&D bring you the best return on investment.
If you wish to discuss anything we’ve discussed in this article, or about R&D funding for Irish companies, simply call us on call us on +353 1 566 2001 or send us a message. We’re working remotely during this time and will be pleased to assist you.