Saturday, December 8, 2012

Probing the Innovation Challenge

What is the real challenge in innovation ?

The poor conversion of good ideas into truly valuable innovation. The fundamental issues behind this challenge are - How to create the vision for technology innovation? How to engage the experts and focus their efforts? How to organize the resources? How to deliver the innovations in time?

How is it a challenge?

When ideas don’t evolve into innovations, the inventors get discouraged, technology managers are frustrated, stakeholders are disappointed, technology development stagnates, the business loses confidence in R&D, new product development falls into a coma and ultimately the market suffers.

Who faces the challenge?

Technologists and scientists everywhere face this challenge whether they are in university research groups, government laboratories, industrial R&D teams in large companies, small technology start-ups etc. Though the innovation environment is significantly different across these organizations, the challenge remains the same.

When and where is it a challenge?

The challenge arises typically when the market need is ahead of the technology or when the technology is ahead of the market. The challenge exists in most emerging / developing / fast-growing economies. The challenge is intense, for a late entrant, in technology domains where the IP space is crowded. The absence of government regulation or enforcement favoring the new technology could further make things difficult.

Why is it a challenge?

o Management of IP – Inventors create valuable IP when they patent their ideas and inventions, but most of them don’t realize the importance of monetizing their IP. Even large technology-based businesses and R&D organizations do not effectively monetize their intellectual capital. Sustaining the innovation efforts becomes a challenge when the IP fails to generate value.

o New Product Development – Effective use of technology to differentiate the product in the market is the most reliable way to create a competitive advantage. The creation of a winning product needs a good knowledge of the unmet needs and a focused effort to meet those needs through technology innovations. Typical examples of a desired, but currently unmet, need in technology products could be lower cost, longer life, more user friendly, environment friendly etc. Sustaining the innovation efforts becomes a challenge when the revenue generated by new products is non-existent or delayed.

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