Summer Is The Best Time to Invest in Innovation


July traditionally marks the start of summer holidays but strategic planning in business doesn’t take a holiday. However, time out can be an excellent way to engage focus as to your business purpose. Innovation is no different. Here's why summer is the best time to invest in innovation:

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To cultivate and nurture an innovation culture in any business requires creativity. Most of all, it requires the support of your people. Prof. Gareth Jones argues effective leaders use their emotions to liberate the energy of others and ensuring employees take time off is essential not only for their work/life balance but also to ensure they return to work re-energised, ready for fresh challenges.

Previously the Director of Human Resources and Internal Communications at the BBC, Professor Gareth Jones is recognised as a leading expert in organisational design, culture, leadership and change by both the academic and corporate worlds. His insightful talks are fascinating and promote creativity as a source of competitive strength and inspiring an effective organisational culture.

His statement that, ’creativity increases with diversity and decreases with sameness’ would support the argument that for businesses to compete effectively and profitably, innovation is key.

Collaborate to innovate

Effective leadership excites people to exceptional performance says Jones, so take this summertime to reflect personally and your business should be no different. Using downtime, consider how innovation could drive your future activities like exploring process improvement or product development won’t be time wasted.

When you’re busy focussing on your own industry, it’s easy to miss opportunities that could lead your business to new and lucrative markets. By joining forces with a partner outside of your industry, such as a University or even from a completely different sector with skills complementary to your business, opens possibilities for creating innovative products that attract new markets. Diversity of thought is key.

Recommended reading: The Co-Innovate Programme and The Power of Partnerships

How do I get started?

  1. Recognise that there is an opportunity or a problem that could be addressed if you had access to the necessary knowledge, skills and expertise.
  2. Identify a suitable knowledge centre that possesses the skills, expertise and facilities required to solve the problem or exploit the opportunity. (Before embarking on a journey to work with or access knowledge from a Knowledge Centre, you should:
  • have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve from the engagement
  • have a good understanding of the expertise and potential value of the institution’s input.
  1. Begin the partnership with a joint analysis of needs and solutions, appropriate research and identification of willing researchers within the institution.
  2. The researchers’ knowledge should be adapted or ‘localised’ to meet the specific needs of your business. This requires collaborative working and the building of trust amongst the partners.
  3. As the project develops, the partners create the opportunity for innovation in process, product or markets. This depends on your ability to absorb new knowledge and also on your ability to deliver.
  4. The mark of successful innovation? Success in the market place and adoption by end users!

InterTradeIreland can help

So when you get back to your desk, check out InterTradeIreland’s FUSION programme. Designed to help businesses deliver on those creative ideas, we have supported over 700 collaborative partnerships on the island for 20 years.

FUSION is a knowledge transfer partnership where InterTradeIreland works with you to find and fund a high calibre science, engineering or technology graduate and partner you with a third level institution with specific expertise. Currently there is funding up to £56,000/€67,900 available for eligible companies.

Recommended reading: 8 Things To Encourage an Innovation Culture

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019
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