Back to basics!
by Roger La Salle
The word innovation is used essentially as a catch all term that means anything that is new and different, most often involving some sort of technology.
Governments are all telling us the world is fast changing and we need to be at the cutting edge in bringing innovation to the fore.
Whilst this is a valuable message that hopefully stimulates research and entrepreneurship; unfortunately it’s too simplistic. We need to differentiate between research, invention and innovation as they are all quite different and have vastly different risk profiles.
Research is often the precursor to invention, but research is a high risk and high cost initiative with unacceptably long time to market for any but government supported organisations or very large multinationals.
Innovation on the other hand is low risk with short time to market; providing certain essential success criteria are present.
A new way to think!
It was this background that led to the development of Matrix Thinking©. Starting with a product innovation matrix this now extends to a host of matrix thinking platforms, many tailored to specific problems that need innovative thinking to resolve.
In my experience given a properly defined problem most clear thinking people or technologists will be able to develop a solution, or if it’s deemed to be near impossible, such as anti-gravity shoes, to be able to identify the difficulty in very short order at little or no cost
In business there is always a drive maintain market engagement with innovation as the fuel for this initiative. Keep the market moving by incrementally improving your offering at every turn. This is a safe low risk ploy so popular with car manufacturers inspiring them to forever change and refine their models for little reason other than to render earlier models obsolete.
What sets innovation apart?
The secret underpinning innovation is to recognise the single biggest risk in business, market risk. To mitigate market risk the secret is to find products or services that are selling well and simply make improvements.
Look at it from the customer’s perspective. If there are two near identical products on offer and one has maybe just one added feature and is similarly priced, or maybe even priced lower that the competitor, putting brand aside, which one will the customer buy? Clearly the innovated or improved one.
The secret to business is to incrementally and endlessly improve your product, or alternatively find one that is well received, perhaps from a competitor, and innovate that.
Remember, “Market Risk” is the single biggest risk in business, properly undertaken, innovation removes market risk, the key is the tools that properly drive innovative thinking
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Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organisations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.matrixthinking.com
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