Invest in Innovation

Written by Patricia Cullen. Posted in Global Briefing

Businesses that are able to create new and innovative products or services at the same time as responding to the demands and requirements of their consumers are working a winning recipe.

Once purely a fancy buzz-word, innovation has now become a crucial ingredient in transforming the economy, revitalising cities and creating prosperous businesses. Offering fresh services or products while challenging accepted norms distinguishes you from your competitors and gives your organisation a real chance of success.


While it may seem easy to copy what has been seen to work, innovation gives an excellent return on investment and encourages economic growth in today’s tough market. And businesses that innovate boast better productivity and performance, while providing greater quality goods and generating higher wages.

For corporations to prosper and grow in the modern marketplace they must not merely encourage innovation, they must simply demand it. Prior to the financial crisis organisations may have been able to last employing just small levels of innovation. Producing quality products was enough and they would simply have to fine-tune the merchandise to sustain their competitiveness. In 2015 however, businesses need more than good products to survive; let alone thrive. However, innovation doesn’t just naturally occur and unfortunately, due to its unquantifiable nature, today’s economic climate is making it even more difficult for organisations to embrace it.  

Everyone talks about it and leaders never say a bad word about innovation but, according to new research from PA Consultancy Groups Innovation as Unusual report, only 50%of the organisations questioned attempt to be frontrunners in the field. With budgets tight, finance directors are looking for a rapid return on investment and the report states that 47% of senior executives describe their innovation activity as a ‘costly failure’. The research, involving 750 senior executives across 15 countries and multiple sectors, reveals that numerous organisations advocate strategies that are risk-adverse, thereby hindering many big and brave decisions. This analysis tries to encourage companies to stop wasting inspired ideas, and potentially, billions of pounds in lost revenue.


"Why are so many businesses failing to master such an important area of their business strategy?"


 

Why are so many businesses failing to master such an important area of their business strategy? .Just a quick glance at Apple’s performance under Steve Jobs, versus other leaders for example, illustrates the fundamental importance of innovative leadership.  Innovation as Unusual report determines five prevalent ‘innovation killers’ that are preventing businesses from realising their full potential. Fear, lack of focus, engine failure, the wrong ROI and a reluctance to invest are the main culprits, highlighting an entrenched ethos of risk aversion in business, where saving money will virtually always takes priority over innovation. The Innovation as Unusual report found that, with the exception of Belgium and Luxemburg, the proportion of UK organisations that say they talk about more than they actually do innovation is more than any other country surveyed. The UK also had the most innovation ‘talkers’ rather than ‘doers’ and ‘least confident innovators’ in the whole group.  How can businesses stop missing valuable opportunities and start to increase their profitability?

Innovation has to move beyond the R&D department and become firmly embedded in the culture of the organisation to make an impact.  It is now more important than ever to foster a corporate culture that encourages new and original ideas. Then find out what your consumers really want and adjust your innovation accordingly. Investing in innovation, rather than scaling back such investment is crucial, and those prepared to take the plunge will see profitable results.

The aim of the report was to pinpoint best practices and to reiterate that innovation must be at the top of your business agenda, identifying that  71% of the  ‘innovation leaders’ have seen an increase in revenue in the last year. They trust that their direction inspires and cultivates growth, thus contributing to the overall profitability of the business. So, how can your company emulate such success? The report focuses on the six main traits that encourage innovation, emphasising the high returns for fostering such an approach.

These include:

-Supporting high- potential but risky innovations

-Harnessing digital technology

-Placing innovation at the centre of the corporate culture

-Learning from errors 

-Having the correct set of talent for innovation

-Attempting to be pioneers in innovation 

In order to prepare for an uncertain economic future, businesses need to become more resilient in certain areas and more controlled in others, with innovation taking the front seat. In 2015, if those at the top of the organisation don’t ‘get’ innovation, the rest of the business, doesn’t stand a chance. 

Get Paid to Innovate

Innovate UK organises funding competitions to help turn your inspired idea into a tangible product, with funding ranging between £5,000 and £10 million. Whether you are a pre-start-up, a new company or a large multi-national, it pays to be innovative. 

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