When a company faces a serious obstacle, it usually has to benefit from the skills of different people, even beyond their expertise. Many believe that combining skills is the key to solving complex problems and finding the right solution. A review of some 18 million scientific papers shows that most research is done in the classic and traditional fields, but with an out-of-the-box and innovative perspective. This information and studies meet the daily needs of companies for innovation. But what if a company wants to produce better or more advanced products, or create a new business model, or that company’s product or service is limited to today’s technology and requires the development of a science branch? All of these issues require innovation in areas unrelated to the company’s current operations; innovations that can be the key to solving the problem in a different way.
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What is innovation?
The fact is that innovation does not have a clear strategy and path. There is an infinite number of ways to come up with a solution to a problem; as a result, choosing a particular strategy and following it will ultimately fail! Typically, companies and organizations limit themselves to a specific path, framework, and strategy. They trap themselves in the framework of the strategy they have chosen and limit their form of innovation. Although in many cases, this strategy will meet their needs, at least for a while, but eventually the company will face problems that cannot be solved with that particular strategy.
Innovation, like other business rules and regulations, must be managed. That is, innovation should be considered as a tool to achieve specific goals. Just as marketing is done with several different techniques, or funding is done in different ways during different periods of an organization’s life, different strategies must be considered for innovation, problem solving, and performing different tasks.
How many categories of innovation are there?
From this perspective, innovation strategies can be divided into several generic categories, which include sustaining , disruptive, breakthrough, and basic research innovations.
Most innovations belong to this category. In most cases, innovations are made solely to maintain competition and market presence. The goal of these innovations is to make the product and service better than it is today. In fact, these innovations are the company’s efforts to increase the potentials of products and services in the market. Therefore, the problem, the required skills and resources, and even the possible solution to it are somewhat clear in this category of innovations.
Common strategies such as strategic roadmaps, R&D labs, purchasing and using other companies’ resources, and using their skills and talents can be effective in solving these problems. In this type of innovation, design thinking methods can also be very effective if there is a proper understanding of the existing problem and the necessary skills to solve it.
Sometimes the problem at hand is well known, but it is very difficult to find a solution for it. In such a situation, it is necessary for the company to look at the issue outside the box and use the skills of other fields. For example, underwater pollution detection to accurately investigate the impact of pollution on aquatic life may be a little difficult for an engineering company, and using the skills and expertise of a biologist can help design a simple, inexpensive and fast end product.
Progress in one particular area is accompanied with the creation of clear patterns of breakthrough and innovation. But sometimes these patterns and rules make solving a problem so complex, while there may be a simple solution to that problem outside the company’s area of expertise.
What is considered as a good strategy and guarantees the success of some companies, such as listening to customer opinions, investing in continuous improvement, etc. can be devastating for another company. In fact, all of these techniques and strategies can meet the company’s need to grow and gain more market share as long as market conditions and competition remain the same. Since the technology and other indicators that determine market conditions are constantly changing, the effort to make progress and improve in an area may actually be stepping in a sideways anf moving away from the mainstream market and customer needs and wants. In this situation, innovation and development of services and products cannot help the company.
Fundamental and disruptive innovations never happened all of a sudden. A new phenomenon, technology or field is always discovered first and then addressed to eventually become an important and disruptive innovation. Perhaps the day Einstein proposed his theory of relativity, no one thought it would change our perception of the world around us. Einstein’s discoveries and theories are used today in a variety of fields, from nuclear reactors to space travel, sending satellites, and computer technology. That’s why big companies like IBM need to do some basic research and investing in this area to be at the forefront of huge innovations. From encouraging and pursuing research and engineering projects to holding conferences and seminars, there are ways for these companies to gather ideas and move forward in their required field of science. For example, every year Google invites the top 30 researchers to attend its company for a certain period of time and also sponsors 250 academic projects.
Even smaller companies can access important and up-to-date research around the world. Governments usually have various plans to financially support companies and enable them to connect with industry, thus acting as a bridge between industry, scientists, and academia. Therefore, smaller companies with little capital can participate in these projects and participate in the competitive market. Access to leading scientists and researchers in any field can contribute to the long-term success of a business and increase the likelihood that the company will launch a major innovation. This strategy can provide a suitable platform for the growth of smaller companies with the help of other techniques such as innovative business model, design thinking, etc.
When does the organization still face problems despite innovation?
Companies that are still struggling to compete in the marketplace despite many innovations and the use of state-of-the-art technology and knowledge may have chosen the wrong innovation strategy. Such companies may limit themselves and their innovation strategy to a framework and not be able to solve their problems. It should not be forgotten that even the best innovation strategies may not be able to solve some problems. That is why using several innovation methods is a necessity for companies seeking to maintain innovation and competition in the market. Sometimes an unsolvable problem within one innovation strategy becomes a simple problem in another.
Based on Retiba’s Academy : Real Time of Business Assistant