Innovate and stay a cut above the rest

Innovation drives growth because it attracts new customers and distinguishes an organization from its competitors. However it is vital to understand that most innovations fail and those that succeed are rarely based on inventions alone. Building new market spaces, embracing new business models, and establishing new customer segments, are key challenges that innovations will face and be requiring to overcome in order to compete in the marketplace.

Transforming a business from patenting inventions to producing innovation is complex as it requires a combination of invention, along with use, behaviour, and business models. The various aspects from possessing the technical skills to invent, an understanding of user behaviour and consumption, and the business background to recognize the economics and dependencies of getting the innovation to market in a sustainable and profitable manner are all critical facets. Patenting inventions is one of the key mechanisms of innovation. In the world of intellectual property (IP), the foundation of innovation rest in documenting, protecting, and leveraging on inventions. While invention is about creating something new, innovation often take shape of a combination of inventions to introduce the concept of how an idea can be applied to the market to initiate changes to existing processes, uses, or functions.

To stimulate innovation, successful organization foster a culture to encourage groups or individuals to take risks, accept failure and routinely share in the spirit of collaboration both within the organization or with external partners.

They understand that the risk of not innovating is greater than that of innovating, and the questions to consider are not just about what’s the cost for a new innovation, but as importantly what's the long term implications and size of missed opportunity of not innovating.

Bringing people together takes time to build trust before they can be become productive. Within an organization, the key ingredients of turning invention to innovation rest in the thought process of a team made up of varied specialties and strengths and their ability to execute well. Yet with growing needs of an organization, open innovation for ideas and knowledge to flow between partners is necessary where there exist collaboration among a broader ecosystem of players who are focused on continuous idea generation, testing and learning than specific goals within their organization.

As compared to a world where there is no patent system to ensure organizations and/or inventors to property rights to their discoveries, establishing property rights in invention protect the patentees and promote the diffusion of information about technology. They provide a sense of liberation to inventors to promote their discoveries as widely as possible so as to maximize returns either from commercializing their ideas themselves or from licensing rights to the idea to others.

The combination of IP ownership with an open innovation strategy empowers organizations to be engaged in the exchange of technology without jeopardizing their competitive advantage. A valuable open innovation approach puts IP that sits on the shelf internally to “work harder” in other organizations. With the adoption of open innovation, customer centric approach and collaboration with a variety of partners, new ventures with improved business models can be created to profit, scale, and continue innovating, moving faster beyond otherwise a purely corporate or start-up environment.

As the playing field becomes increasingly leveled, the pressure to innovate and disrupt the marketplace becomes greater than before. The big potential associated with innovation comes from monetizing a technology that can drive a portfolio of offerings, not just an individual product. The world is flat and identifying unmet needs, finding new platforms for growth are quintessential because if you do not invent the future, someone else will.

(The article has been authored by Juliana Chua, Head of Business Development, RunSocial)

Image credit: Indiatimes

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