Chief Innovation Officer, Issue 10

Where we look at innovation in jobs and education


Throughout history, the most successful innovators have always had a hard time sustaining performance. Some of the most famous early pioneers in their fields have failed - for example, Polaroid, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo. Their products were once celebrated, leading the market and seemingly unassailable. However, they have all since fallen dramatically behind the competition. So, why is it so hard to build and maintain the capacity to innovate?

In order to effectively maintain innovation, it is vital to have a good innovation strategy that aligns with a business’s overall strategy and goals. This enables the company to pinpoint problems and their solutions quicker. It can also help to synthesize ideas into real business concepts and product designs, and helps the company best understand which projects deserve funding.

There is not one business strategy that fits all companies, and the same is true of an innovation strategy. The decision around which strategies to use must be based on consideration of all circumstances and factors that a ect the sector. It is also important to avoid any possible con icts between innovation and business strategies. Business unit heads can focus on the target markets whereas R&D scientists and engineers tend to see opportunities in new technological processes. Diverse perspectives are crucial for successful innovation, but they shouldn’t disrupt one another.

The mutual features of business and innovation strategies are that they should both start with a clear understanding of the specific objectives that can help the company stay ahead of its competitors. Those objectives can be different for each company and include, for instance, reduction of the product prices or creating a visible societal benefit, (anything capable of creating value). Choosing the type of value your innovation strategy will create and sticking to it is critical.

Finally, the innovation strategy must always be evolving. Introducing an innovation strategy and letting it work once or twice is not enough to create a sustainable impact. Industries are constantly changing and there is a steady ow of new processes and methods in the approaches companies use to deal with changes and enable growth. In regards to your innovation strategy, it is vital that you have your nger on the pulse with the most recent changes and trends and make adjustments accordingly. By continuously polishing your strategy, you will keep up with the market and aligned with what your customers want.

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