The Importance of Innovation for SME's


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The Importance of Innovation for SME's talks about why your business should constantly work on its innovation. Innovation isn't alway about creating something new it is about moving just before or with market trends to make sure that your business is a market leader.

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The Importance of Innovation for SME's

  1. 1. The Importance of Innovation for SMEs
  2. 2. Say the word ‘innovation’ to many people & they think of invention or creation. People think of great research & development led businesses like Dyson or pharmaceutical giants such as GlaxoSmithKline or Pfizer. This thought process often scares people off innovation as a concept.
  3. 3. So let’s start with what innovation is not: Innovation is not Invention!
  4. 4. Innovation is renewing, changing or creating more effective processes, products or ways of doing things. So for a small business, innovating might well be just having the thought process & courage to try a new marketing strategy or tool, it could be to implement a CRM system or to try a new sales approach. These might not be ground breaking or world firsts (very few things are), but for a small business (& big ones at that) this is innovation. Everyone & Every Business can Innovate!
  5. 5. Being innovative is key to the success of a small business. Without innovation it is very likely that a small business will fail. This is because if a business is not growing then it is dying. Why Innovate?
  6. 6. As Einstein said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again & expecting a different result”.
  7. 7. Businesses who aren’t innovating are not only not growing themselves, but their competitors are likely to be growing and innovating & therefore making your business less relevant. Being innovative, trying new ideas, improving existing processes: These are the activities that will keep our businesses ahead of others. Innovation drives the productivity & performance of business, & can help you grow & improve your business. Businesses that innovate have better productivity performance, grow fast & generate higher quality, higher paying jobs.
  8. 8. Innovation can benefit all aspects of business including sales & marketing, finance, human resources, & information technology. Benefits of Innovation to SMEs:  More Efficient Work Processes.  Saving Time & Money.  Increased Customer Satisfaction.  Staff Motivation.  Competitive Advantage. Innovation can be a catalyst for the growth & success of your business, & help you adapt and grow in the marketplace.
  9. 9. In order to innovate successfully it helps to have a process. In some ways, that sounds counter intuitive, because innovation often has creative thinking at its core. However, without a process to follow, creative ideas don’t get finished & therefore don’t have the impact they should. How?
  10. 10.  You & your employees know your business better than anyone. You need to tap into this knowledge.  Your employees will have valid opinions on which directions your business could take as well as a knowledge of the barriers that may prevent you moving forward. It's a good idea to talk to your customers & suppliers too.  Starting the process in this way is hugely important, because not only does it get the ideas moving in an organisation, but also starts engaging with staff.  For many employers & employees this can be the first time this has happened & is a vital part of innovation. Many of the greatest innovations have come from simple ideas from staff within businesses. Step 1: Communicate & Explore 'What are the issues?'
  11. 11.  Now you have identified key issues, you need to create a picture of what the ideal outcome will look like.  What is your goal for the issues that have been raised?  Develop a vision of the way it should be. Whether that’s a problem to be overcome or an opportunity for improvement, the vision will help you set the course. Step 2: Visualise Step 3: Find facts The first step of exploring will have led a number of things to be flagged as issues or opportunities. We now need to identify what the current state of the situation really is. This process is not about being judgmental, but simply accumulating the facts, so the change process needed is easier to understand.
  12. 12. Some of these may have started to come out in the first step, however, it’s a good opportunity to allow team members & the business as whole to Brainstorm & to really work on the ‘green light thinking approach” i.e. everything idea is a good idea. Concentrate on quantity vs. quality. It allows ideas to flow. Bringing the team members back together for this stage, shows two things. Firstly, a commitment to the process of innovation & seeing things through, & secondly you continue to engage with staff, showing them you value their input. Step 4: Create Ideas
  13. 13. After Green light thinking, we now need to move to “Red-Light Thinking” to determine the best idea or approach. This is about evaluating the ideas created in the “Green-light Thinking” stage. To determine conclusions it’s important to get consensus from the team, vote for the best idea, or use the criteria method. Step 5: Create Solutions Step 6: Deliver Now that we have the solutions which have been created & agreed on by the team, we need to put the accepted solutions into action. Set up a time-frame of the project completion, listing each of its phases. Before you begin, make sure that everyone understands the goals.
  14. 14. Once again, we’re showing that we’re committed to this process. How is progress going? Are we on track to achieve the goals? Step 7: Monitor Progress Step 8: Evaluate Have you achieved the results you wanted? What things did we learn, how can we improve the process in the future? This is another opportunity for the team to come together & give feedback & begin the innovation process again.
  15. 15. If a piece of innovation, created by the team has delivered a positive change in your business, then it’s time to celebrate that success and reward those involved. Innovation is critical success factor in our business, encouraging it, is vital. By engaging with staff throughout any innovation process, be it a small or large process will help with that, but actively rewarding innovation and the benefits if it, will be even more powerful. (The Often Forgotten...) Step 9: Celebrate
  16. 16. Pathway can help! Pathway Group have a number of ways you can begin the process of innovating in your business. From an online courses to more tailored support & advice. Why not contact one of our business advisors at Pathway Group who can point you in the right direction. To do this please call Pathway Group on 0121 707 0550 or e-mail: & get innovating! Want to Get Started?
  17. 17. For more business advice visit: