Emma Bunton
Zoe Farrington
Rob Smedley
Tim Martin
Kim Bird
Patrick Speedie
Demystifying innovation

Estelle Blanks

Demystifying innovation

Can you measure innovation?

The business world has moved on considerably since the amount a firm spent on research and development, or the number of patents it held, were considered the only measures of how much they innovated.

But the wider business benefits were neglected: how will this innovation benefit the business overall?

It’s worth considering how much of your innovation generates intellectual property (IP) in the business. IP can be formal (designs, patents, copyright and trademarks) or informal (software codes, trade secrets, brand and reputation, market intelligence, know-how) – both kinds can be formally valued by specialists, can be insured and can even be used to aid in financing.

But more simply, a firm can measure innovation by looking for direct, measurable correlations between their growth, in terms of wealth, employment, and asset development like the IP assets mentioned above, and the value of the innovation they’ve undertaken.

 

How do you manage innovation?

Innovation is essential to a business looking to grow organically. Some firms are built around their ability to innovate – Apple is a good example of this, products like the original iPod created a new need in the marketplace that hadn’t existed before.

Other firms don’t find innovation happens as naturally, and they manage the process to improve their competitiveness. This includes:

  • Encouraging internal innovation, from talent within the organisation or ideas from outside
  • Allocating resource
  • Gaining and applying new knowledge
  • Building partnerships, and/or collaborating with others.

Establishing a company culture that is conducive to innovation is essential, as is investment in the development and recruitment of employees who will embrace change and new ideas. For some companies the spirit of innovation is its DNA, others need to make a concerted effort to get everyone on board to make innovations a reality.

In a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own resources to innovate and instead use open innovation to tap into the intellectual property, people, research, business models and technology that exist outside the boundaries of the organisation.

If you want to do more, sign up for VentureFest North East to explore opportunities to use innovation to impact on the bottom line.

VentureFest is part of the Innovation SuperNetwork, an organisation which creates competitive advantage for North East businesses though innovation and delivers inspiring events and projects including VentureFest North East, Innovation Challenge and FinanceCamp.

Graham Sleep, Improvement Architecture

MGP consultant Graham Sleep of Improvement Architecture.

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PSI Global team

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