If we ask business owners what is their way of innovating, most of the time they will tell us that they are identifying new product opportunities based on their business experience: they come up with something, they discuss it internally, and they develop it little by little, inserting economic and human resources into the process as much as possible.
Therefore, innovations are often lost along the way if they do not have clear mechanisms, a person with name and salary, as well as exclusive financial resources for the process.
It is useless to have an innovative product or service, if the company does not manufacture it, does not distribute it, does not sell it, and does not promote it well. Hence, innovation per se is not enough to have a return on investment and generate wealth. We can structure this process through the following eight steps:
1. Create the innovation strategy within your business plan
It consists in considering in your business the necessary resources to generate innovation. These resources must be reflected in their economic projections since money is required to innovate in a structured way. Personnel in charge of creating innovations in new products or services, with a specific salary, office and workshop areas, prototype and testing machinery, materials and cost of information sources (such as patent banks) are some of the investment points in innovation It is very difficult to create innovations with the time that remains for our current staff, since time and mind with full availability are required by someone responsible.
2. Develop new products or services
Through an adequate process of design and development of new products, the entire company, suppliers, and customers must be involved to creatively generate innovative concepts. Many creative techniques can be successfully implemented in the company.
3. Technological surveillance
To respond to the threats and opportunities of the environment, the company must learn to systematize them through technological surveillance tools (patent search, technologies), Benchmarking and best business practices, and information on the latest available technologies, as well as scientific discoveries. That allow us to have the most up-to-date information to make decisions to innovate, avoiding spending time in generating something that we later realize that already existed.
4. Management of technological and innovation projects
An innovation project cannot be managed in the same way that any other activity is managed. In innovation there are several aspects not clearly defined, a fuzzy front end or uncertainty, development times longer than conventional projects, etc. Therefore, we have to develop specific management tools that allow us to manage innovation from the beginning.
5. Financing of innovation
Obtaining financial resources for the generation of innovations is a decisive aspect to carry them out. Most of the time, this money is not available or available to some companies, so it is necessary to obtain information on how to obtain these resources, either governmentally or privately. It has to do directly with the funds and procedures to fill out the applications and obtain them.
6. Innovation assurance
To get a clear advantage as a company that has generated an innovation, it is important to create an appropriate industrial property strategy. This includes learning how to protect with the greatest possible benefit, everything generated in the company, from brands, industrial designs, utility models and patents. Knowing how much it costs to do it, how it is done and abroad and how it can be sold or rented, is essential to obtain a return in the future.
7. The exploitation of innovation in the business strategy
Innovation exists if it generates an economic return. In such a way that a new product or service may require a new business model to be able to exploit it. It is important that before carrying out an innovation project a study is made of its impact, both commercial and the improvement of our competitive position.
8. Conservation and use of company knowledge
If we want the knowledge generated and existing in our company to be a differentiators to the competition, we must boost its creation, and make it part of our intangible assets and know-how. Implementing a system and tools that allow us to keep it and share it within our company, can over time make our business model based on knowledge creation.