Innovation – A Strategic Imperative

In today's increasingly global economy competition is fierce and fast, communication instantaneous and staying in business is about keeping ahead. The most successful companies demonstrate a strategic focus on innovation and its role in achieving sustainable year on year growth with the culture of the organisation, its business practices, processes and organisational structure all successfully contributing.

Innovative companies consistently deliver organic growth and those that make the most of their innovative capability significantly outperform their sector competitors. Innovation is a strategic imperative for all businesses.

The ILAB Process

In the innovative company, senior management champion innovation and everyone understands how they can contribute to the company's strategy. The culture and working environment have innovation permeating throughout the whole organisation. Ideas are sought and welcomed from anywhere, both from within and from outside the organisation. The Ilab Process contributes to this by giving every member of the company a set of tools to systematically work through ideas whether they be large or small, in a series of well defined and cost effective stages. It encourages staff to have and share ideas, commercially evaluate the likelihood of their success, understand the risks and turn them efficiently and quickly into profit.

The ILAB Process is generic and can be applied effectively to a whole range of business activities.

The ILAB Process allows you to develop ideas, test their effectiveness and evaluate the risks before making commitments.

The ILAB Process will help you put innovation at the heart of your business so that it is an integral and as important a function as sales, finance, production and the rest.

The ILAB Process will ensure that innovation is embedded in the culture and day to day processes of your business.

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Let the market be the judge

Sign Hear is a signature based personal identification system developed by Sign Assured, a small high technology company. It records the sound made by the pen on the writing surface as a person signs. The developers demonstrated that this sound cannot be replicated except by its ‘owner’ and produced software that enabled sound signatures to be stored and retrieved for comparison as part of an identification procedure. The technology was thoroughly tested and its reliability verified before being offered on the market.

The view was that, since Sign Hear embodied such a unique and clever idea based on the oldest most familiar means of identification, it could not fail to sell. And so the company embarked on a conventional sales campaign as if everyone would immediately grasp the attributes of their clever idea and buy on the spot. The truth eventually dawned with the conclusion that a niche was required in which Sign Hear’s unique competitive advantage could be demonstrated sufficient to grow sales and confidence. Children’s nurseries were identified as such. First adopters and successful field trials followed, at the end of which the company ran out of cash abandoning the product and writing off the effort spent in getting it to the brink of commercial success.

The market proved yet again to be the supreme judge. Just because something is unique and clever does not mean to say that the tortuous procedures of market entry can be avoided.

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