Innovation is as important for small business as for large ones, but most of the books and other writings available focus on the big firms. In his new book The Innovation Formula, Langdon Morris provides insights for the small business leader or entrepreneur about how to be fantastically successful at innovation even with very limited time and capital to invest.
As the market becomes saturated, it becomes difficult for many businesses, especially startup enterprises, to stay on top of their competitions. Technology has paved a way for firms to revolutionize their marketing and management strategies. Another tried and tested way to infiltrate their specific markets successfully is to inspire innovation within their offices, from employees to their brand.
For those of you who read my articles on a regular basis, you will know that I tend to focus on driving innovative activities and cultures within large, corporate organizations. Today however, I would like to focus on the value of innovation to growing, mid-market companies. For the purposes of this article I will consider mid-market companies as anywhere from 300 – 3,000 employees. This is just an arbitrary number, but it provides context for our discussion.
Innovation policy is about the challenge of contributing to the wide objectives such as employment, sustainability and economic growth. How to approach such a task? The answer is simple but the effort complex: Aim for a strong innovation eco-system. Referring to the case of the IMP³rove Euromed Project the article suggests four systematic steps on how to establish an effective, innovation inducing eco-system.
SMEs have sustainability on their radar. Their main goal is economic sustainability. To achieve this goal, they can take ecological and social sustainability as an opportunity for innovation instead of just considering it as a mere cost driver. Thus innovation and sustainability become the two sides of the coin called profitable growth.
Strategic alliances are an effective way to provide diversity of resources and gain entry to new knowledge and markets. Large corporations have entered recently into alliances with public sector organizations to support innovation in SMEs, combining private and public policy agendas. This article looks into the structure and management of these strategic alliances, their strong practices and inhibitors and how they impact the different parties involved.
The recent economic crisis has confronted companies across Europe with major challenges. Small and medium sized companies in particular seemed to have a customer base too reduced to maintain their business. In such a situation there are two options: invest in developing new customers or invest in developing new, more attractive, offerings.
Recognizing that every collaborative endeavor is unique and should be evaluated on its own merits, companies must do their homework before starting to work together. Successful innovation collaborations start with a clear understanding of how each company wants to benefit from the partnership, and how they will work toward a win-win outcome. This article highlights matters to be considered and memorialized in this formative stage of a partnership.
Innovation is always a result of taking risk and mastering these risks successfully. However, in the past few years the risks resulting from the overall economic situation seems to have increased for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). As they cannot control these external risks many of them seem to stay away from too risky innovation projects. This has implications for the SMEs and for those who provide innovation support for SMEs?
Open Innovation relies on collaboration to achieve success. To determine which firm is the best suited to be an innovation partner, small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) should consider using an approach modeled on the “Want, Find, Get, Manage” methodology developed by Alliance Management Group (AMG). Because of their unique characteristics, broadly summarized as limited resources,SMEs should substitute “want, find and get” with “need, know and negotiate.” Capable and stable management remains a constant.
To succeed in a fast-paced competitive global economy, small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) are increasingly adopting Open Innovation (OI) management strategies. A lack of resources, however, frequently requires SMEs to implement OI strategies on their own without the assistance of a management strategy professional. This article offers clear, do-it-yourself steps to initiate an OI program successfully within an SME.
Owners and managers of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) are reluctant to hire consultants and even more so when it comes to innovation management consulting. And they often have good reasons to do so. They don’t see an appropriate value for the money and time they invest on innovation management consulting - especially since the quality and range of such services varies dramatically.
Companies sometimes behave like the ostrich with their head in the ground while others emerge from the crisis like a phoenix. Not knowing with which new products or services your company really earns money is a bit like the ostrich. However there are effective means to gain transparency on innovation spending without too much effort. These tools also allow a comparison with your competitors to understand what they are doing differently in their approach to successfully managing their innovation activities. Finally, they help companies which currently struggle with the economic situation to become more effective and efficient in their innovation management.
SMEs are perceived as the back-bone of most economies in Europe. Therefore, a lot of programs have been launched to support their growth. Over the past years, offering innovation support has become popular, complementing the well-known start-up financing and technology transfer programs. Despite the above, there is a level of dissatisfaction regarding the impact of these services.
Companies become increasingly restrictive in their consulting spending, especially during times of economic crisis, where the return on the investments on consulting services is questioned and carefully considered. Consulting in the area of innovation management is even more under pressure as it is usually much lower on the CEOs’ agenda than e.g. restructuring or general cost-cutting. Therefore, innovation management consultants face the challenge to develop their client base, be effective by providing the right recommendations and be efficient by developing these recommendations in as short a period of time as possible. Mastering such a challenge seems like searching for Columbus’ Egg in innovation management consulting.