Creativity and the exploitation of new ideas is the lifeblood of business.
In a nutshell
Every successful company needs a continuous, planned way to seek improved efficiency, meet customer needs and outwit the competition. Mind-set matters too. You need to be eager to experiment, and to learn fast from failures, to try, fail and try again.
Effective strategies for successful innovation include:
- Using internal and external knowledge, and allocating a dedicated budget for developing and trialling new ideas
- Focusing on customer need rather than pushing novel technology
- Embracing and managing failure, leading to stronger performance
What's the business benefit?
We have good reason to believe that Scottish innovation investment is money well spent. Research shows that innovative firms grow their sales twice as fast as firms that fail to innovate, and have higher levels of productivity.
Firms that persistently invest in research and development have higher productivity (13% higher than those with no R&D spending and 9% more than firms who occasionally invest in R&D), better value added per employee, and more exports.
SMEs which have a track record of innovation are more likely to export, more likely to export successfully, and more likely to generate growth from exporting than non-innovating firms.
Moreover, new ideas are newsworthy. They create PR opportunities and internal pride, as well as sales stories. You’ve got good news for customers, and a positive halo for your brand.
Why is this included in the Scottish Business Pledge?
Our businesses and brands need to innovate in order to keep pace with faster-moving competition, which will help to maximise Scotland’s employment prospects and wealth creation. We often think of innovation in terms of Eureka moments. Yet, in business it’s a persistent, sustained and long-term process.
Why is this good for Scotland?
In other parts of the world, businesses often invest much more in innovation than we currently do in Scotland. They invest in R&D; in new software; in training their people; in developing more effective organisations – all with a view to delivering tangible improvements in productivity and long-term profitability. And, for economic growth, it’s just as effective as investment in tangible assets like machinery.
So, in terms of international competitiveness, it’s important that Scotland continues to push forward – creating new customer-led ideas that contribute to the country’s reputation for advanced thinking and high quality products.
What should I do now?
Your innovation strategy could focus on:
- Business Strategy and Practices:
- Introducing a new business model, changing a process to become more efficient, structuring your company differently – these all count as innovation.
- Innovation Investment, including:
- Research and Development;
- advanced machinery and equipment
- licensing of patents and non-patented inventions, know-how and other types of knowledge from other businesses or organisations
- Training for innovative activities;
- design linked to new or improved goods, services and processes
- changes to marketing methods; launch advertising
- Product or Services Innovation
- Developing or refining your product or service for existing or new markets
- Process Innovation
- Improving the methods you use to produce or supply products or services.
What help is available if I can’t make the commitment right now?
Speak to your contact at Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Interface or Local Authority about support.