There is discussion about how much effort should be put into developing an innovation strategy especially by small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). Aren’t many successful innovative offerings just a result of trial, error and finally good luck? Insights in more than 1,500 SMEs from the IMP³rove database demonstrate that strategic focus helps secure profitable growth by innovation.
Innovation is frequently marketed as driver of growth and prerequisite for remaining competitive. However, the process is often risky, especially for small or medium sized enterprises in search of ways to successfully manage their new products, services or businesses in a systemic and stable manner. Luckily, tools such as the “A.T. Kearney House of Innovation” are available to lend an essential helping hand.
In connection with the new collaboration with IMP³rove – Academy, InnovationManagement.se sat down with Sven Schade, Policy Officer at European Commission, to explore how small and medium-sized entities can benefit from having increased access to innovation management tools and learning.
Small to medium-sized businesses typically don't need an enterprise-level idea management system. What they need is a simple tool that enables them to capture, improve, evaluate and take action upon their best ideas. Mind mapping software is a tool that can help.
Switzerland is more innovative and entrepreneurial than generally thought. The world holds on to the caricature of Heidi and of utterly dull bankers, evoked by Helmut Schmidt, many years ago: “Europe is not governed by the gnomes of Zurich”. We forget the implications of the fact that the Swiss national hero is the ultimate rebel: Wilhelm Tell; and rebellion is companion of innovation.The strong Swiss franc and the weak state of the economies of its trading partners will make 2012 difficult, but Switzerland scores tangible successes: prosperity, low debt, reasonable growth, public budgets in the black, low unemployement and trade surplus. This miniature model of Europe must be an inspiration for the EU to become what it should be: the world’s most successful region in the 21rst century.
Germany is a forward-thinking nation with the largest GDP in Europe. Germany is also one out of only four innovation leaders in the top performance group of all EU27 Member States. Their private and public sector R&D funding is on the rise in the midst of a global economic crisis and they enjoy growing economic ties with China. So what is Germany doing right?
Difficult market conditions force SMEs to adapt or reinvent their businesses through new technologies or unique value propositions, but they often lack resources and technical capabilities and must thus collaborate with others to compete. Those that succeed in this transition often employ open innovation. A study by Dr Wim Vanhaverbeke, in collaboration with Ine Vermeersch and Stijn De Zutter found that open innovation can create new opportunities for all types of SME – from start-ups in high-tech markets to players in traditional markets – because they can change business models without having the required technologies in-house.
In traditional thinking, being competitive in the global marketplace requires a significant investment in time and resources. But the reality is that any organization today can take advantage of open innovation to innovate faster and cheaper than ever before, positioning them as true competition in the industry. This article will explore the top five ways SMEs can leverage open innovation.
When you think about low-tech industries, you will probably think about many aspects, except for innovation. Innovation is mostly associated with innovative products and technology, but hardly ever with anything beyond R&D activities. This “myth” can now be refuted through the results of a currently published study “Gaining Competitiveness with Innovations beyond Technology and Products: Insights from IMP3rove”.
In this article Dr Rowan Gilmore shares lessons from the AIC’s Innovation Coaching program which was first introduced to help Queensland (Australia) SMEs in 2009. The program works with SMEs in a number of industry sectors, helping company management to “think outside the box” to grow their business or develop new products and services.
Open innovation may seem to be the preserve of big business. After all, it is often associated with long established monstrosities like Proctor and Gamble and IBM. But it is an approach that can be used by all companies, especially start-ups and small businesses, explains Jeffrey Baumgartner.
Current public innovation support often fails to activate a significant group of SMEs. As a result, the innovation infrastructure is not utilized to its true value and capacity by a key constituency – small and growing companies. Not-for-profit intermediary Syntens initiated a campaign “FuturizedBusinesses” with Regional Development Agencies and the Chambers of Commerce to tackle this. Here's what we learned.
As a follow-up to my slightly provocative blog post, Why Open Innovation is Not for Small Companies, I have begun looking further into the interesting topic on how small companies can innovate with others.
It's a well known fact that Europe's competitive potential is dependent on the capacity to be truly innovative and creative in launching new successful products and services. This can be a daunting challenge for many organizations, not the least for small and medium sized enterprises that often lack proficiency in innovation management. IMP³rove is an approach developed especially to meet the needs of SMEs to help them develop innovation management performance with sustainable impact.
The use of innovation management increases your operational margins. This was one of the key findings of a European study on Innovation Management performance within SMEs. The growth champions were reaching approximately 12% operational margins, an exceptional performance compared to the 5% operational margin of the average SME. In this article Dr. Dirk Balfanz and Dr. Bernhard Kölmel describe a lean and efficient approach to Innovation Management specifically targeted to the needs of SMEs.