For startups, innovation is a creative way of thinking to win a victory. The entrepreneurship literature is full of success stories that emerge from continuous innovation. Innovation is a creative application and making new ideas useful. In this article, I want to highlight the innovation issues and how they influence the success of a startup.
Exploiting new ideas
Innovation is the successful exploitation of new ideas, a form of applicable creativity that makes new ideas useful. It enables a firm to stand out from the crowd in the market and strengthen its competitive advantages. Innovation can be a significant practice for creating a new or improved product and unique process. It requires a robust culture that motivates people to create, think and solve problems in creative ways, and brings value to the business or customer. The Boston Consulting Group defines business innovation as a function of unique knowledge, allocating resources, taking risks, and focusing on customer needs. Innovation can bring several benefits to firms, including increasing market share, reducing costs and selling price, growing sales, creating competitive advantages and more. It can be incremental, i.e. improving the functions or features of a product, or disruptive. Disruptive innovation brings to market a new product or new customers or a cheaper product or these.
Ways of innovation
Many roads lead to innovation, including research, entrepreneurship, and benchmarking. Research and development is a scientific approach to solving problems and discovering new products or processes. Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking focuses on creating unique values that customers want. And benchmarking is setting competitive industry standards, against which a firm will monitor its progress and achievement. Recently, lean-startup approaches have been providing the bases to practice innovation and create unique benefits to customers and enterprises. These approaches, including design thinking, lean startup, SPRINT on Google, the business model canvas, lean canvas, traction, outcome-driven innovation, growth hackers and more.
The value of innovation
Innovation is successful if it results in a unique solution for a pressing pain or at a modest price, or it dominates and controls the market, or it brings a new product and attracts new customers. The benefit of innovation is unique values for both customers and the business. It can bring solutions to challenges and reduce selling prices. Innovation also brings benefits to the firm by creating commercial gains, strengthening the competitive advantages of a firm and enforcing the market positioning of a firm in a competitive marketplace. Sources of innovation include the market, technology, people and the system. In the market, innovation can bring unique solutions to pressing problems that a large group of customers are facing in the market. And new technology will produce opportunities for innovation. For example, internet technology has created some disruptive businesses such as Google and social media platforms. Talented staff can also be a great source of innovation. Finally, the management system that includes policies, procedures and work instructions, encourages and governs innovations.
Validating innovation opportunities
Innovation requires a feasibility study and testing in the marketplace before it becomes successful. Innovation concept must successfully pass the tests of desirability, feasibility and viability. Desirability test examines the customers’ approval of the new product, and feasibility test examines the possibility of transforming an innovative idea. While the viability test examines whether such innovation is profitable. A business owner who wants to validate creative opportunities, can consult a business mentor, investor or expert and seek their advice. Or he/she can observe and talk to potential customers whether they need innovation and will buy it. Or by attending shows or exhibitions to confirm a real demand for such an innovation.
It is searching for an innovative concept before investing more resources in developing that innovation further. Innovation intelligence includes searching Intellectual Property (IP), technology and market intelligence. IP intelligence is searching the registered IPs at the allowed IP registration office. Technology intelligence is searching for available technologies that can substitute or complement your innovation opportunity. It also ensures that you have chosen the fittest technology to pursue your innovation opportunity. Market intelligence is searching for the market to ensure that your innovation is desirable to customers and viable.
This article is extracted from my new book- Mastering Enterprise Skills for Potential Entrepreneurs, which will be published soon. If you want to receive more information about the book, you please register using this link.
Munther Al Dawood
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