This edition of our newsletter covers one of the hottest business topics of current interest these days: innovation with a capital ”I”. Innovation is of prime importance not just for large corporations, but for small and medium-sized businesses as well, not to mention micro-businesses, which have to innovate right from their startups. Innovation can take on many faces.
The Many Facets of Innovation
Innovation can take place not only in scientific laboratories but also in workshops, on assembly lines, and even in marketing and sales offices. Innovation is first and foremost a question of attitude and willingness toward developing the right mindsets and abilities necessary for challenging products’ and services’ concepts, processes and methods and even putting back into question our own visions, orientations and approaches. However, we have to appropriately define ”innovation” and differentiate it from ”invention”, which consists in finding, discovering and/or creating from scratch entirely new, heretofore inexistent, things or processes.
To innovate is to introduce something that departs from course or custom and can be successfully marketable. Innovations sometimes appear following or as a result of discoveries stemming from scientific or experimental research. Therefore, innovation can appear in one of two forms: means of reaching a particularly innovative result or an innovative object, both of which could be either scientific or empirical (through trial and error). We can thus distinguish among four types of innovations:
- product innovation;
- process innovation (production);
- organizational innovation;
- marketing innovation;
Thus we can notice and understand that innovation concerns, caters to and targets many, many more people and businesses than we can think of. We only need to believe in it and add in some will power, but first, foremost and especially, conviction, gut feeling and perseverance.
In reality, innovation should be understood as the act of innovating in a suitable direction, one that makes sense and meets user and/or consumer needs and expectations. Innovation also means jumping on and taking advantage of opportunities, and sometimes going at cross-purposes to competition. For example, in this day of important fuel prices, would it not be pertinent to review the manufacturing location strategy, especially if it is delocalized and situated far away from distribution locations? Would it not be necessary to re-evaluate products in terms of their transport volume and weight?
Innovation has to take account of who would buy the product, because the latter has to meet true market needs. As for an invention, if it is too far ahead of its time, the product or process application may not be immediately feasible or marketable.
To innovate successfully, businesses have to stay in tune with their existing and potential clients’ needs. At Skerpa Design, and with industrial designers, a natural, intuitive practice is at the very root of the industrial design process: a product creation expertise that examines and accounts for business, market and end consumer needs and constraints. The purpose consists in creating a product that is both attractive and functional and will make the company more competitive on the market. Skerpa Design works upstream from the new product development process.
As the innovation process requires time and financial resources, it is also important to protect its ensuing intellectual result. Businesses should constantly be on the lookout for protecting their intellectual property; this protection can take on several forms, such as a patent or an industrial plan or drawing. Unless it protects its products and processes, any business always has to make sure it is not infringing another business’s intellectual property, lest it run the risk of coming under a lawsuit. To this end, Skerpa Design offers its clients to deal with patent agents in order to carry out a patentability search the moment an innovative product concept has been established. This saves development costs in case the product has already been patented.
Are you nurturing ideas? Tinkering with projects? Searching for solutions? Contact us ASAP. We will make it a pleasure to meet with you!
Skerpa Design, your source of innovation.
Skerpa Design inc.