Developing an innovation strategy
Innovation doesn't happen by chance—it’s the result of a systematic process. Here is the process explained.
A comprehensible definition of goals lies at the heart of the innovation strategy. These goals must be formulated as clearly as possible so that they are perceived correctly by employees and applied as part of the company culture. Strategy also includes knowledge of the market and of customers’ current and future requirements, along with a thought process on the appropriate protection of innovations, notably the registration of patents, trademarks or designs.
A systematic process for innovating might look like this:
- Defining a strategy
- Transposing it into a search and innovation matrix (portfolio)
- Adapting search fields according to customer needs
- Searching for new products, technologies, services or processes
- Protecting innovations with industrial property rights (patents, trademarks and designs)
1. Defining a strategy
Using the check-list above, a brief, concise innovation strategy may be defined according to the following:
2. Transposing strategy into a search and innovation matrix (portfolio)
After having determined the strategy, the search fields for the products and services can be identified and assessed using matrices (portfolios). The goal of this portfolio analysis is to define the following points in order to be able to position the company on the market:
- Opportunities/risks of new technologies
- Market trends
- Customer requirements
- Behavior of the competition
The following three matrices (market trends/technological trends; time scale/level of innovation; service/market) can help define the innovation strategy of small companies in particular (check-list available for downloading opposite). Graphic elements (large circles) and their positions in the portfolio can also help define the current situation of the company.
1st matrix: Market trends/technological trends
Source: "Innovationen im Kleinunternehmen", Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, University of St. Gallen, Enkel, 2006.
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