At times of corporate difficulty, it’s often the innovation and the speculative research that is first to be dropped. Yet, it is this very innovation that businesses need to survive and evolve beyond their situation.
We all know innovation is difficult, often consuming more effort and resources than available and often returning no results or dead ends. But the occasional flash of brilliance creates a game changing and lucrative shift if adopted timely and wholeheartedly.
We all know that innovation is not always successful. Painful lessons must be taken from the likes of Nokia. A brilliant innovative and leading edge company that was over taken, not by a feat of technical genius, but by marketing innovation. With it’s focus on technology, Nokia sleep walked into technical dead ends, whilst the market just walked away into flashy packaging and branding.
So innovation doesn’t just have to be a product. It could be a business process; it could be new people; or a new way of working. Each could be the differentiator that pushed a business beyond its competition.
Innovation does usually equate to risk, either through change or divergence, so it’s not easy to capitalise on innovation. It takes clear vision, entrepreneurial spirit and luck.
Take Amstrad as the example. In it’s day Sir Alan Sugar took the business to dizzying heights through the home computer boom. His engineers found a product that he could market and sell with great profit. The business grew throughout the 80’s.
Sir Alan Sugar struck lucky through his early products, but this was just luck. Stuck like Nokia, he continued to seek that spark of differentiation from his engineers; but with his competitor’s focus shifting to price the market moved on.
So it takes a little luck to be successfully innovative. It takes good clear vision to deliver upon that innovation. It’s takes entrepreneurial spirit to deliver them both.