Your first and closest source for support are those around you. Whether you are a small business with a team of colleagues or a larger organisation with hierarchy of departments, these insiders are valuable supporters and engaging with them can be fruitful. Activities such as brainstorming and scenario planning using models such as NDP and Scamper can be used to aid creative thinking.
Lets then look at external support, can you think of the easiest to go to?….
Your customers !
Customer engagement cannot be underestimated for its value when you want some guidance on how to innovate within your business.
Imagine you sell a ‘gizmo’ and your customers like it but wish it had a ‘thingy-ma-jig’. How do you find this out if you don’t ask or listen. Lets say you offer a service and your customer buys that service asking do you also do?…..
Do you say no? or do you take that away and think how you might adapt the service to include something else for added value.
There are lots of external sources in the form of agencies and institutes all ready and waiting to assist and offer guidance such as:
Chambers of Commerce
Local Enterprise Groups and Partnerships
Trade Bodies and Professional Institutes (these tend to have their ear to the ground when it comes to trends in the Market).
Business Networks – yes businesses do come together to innovate. You may find your customer base is Business (B2B) but it is also useful for competitors to come together to discuss findings on customer surveys and engagement to look for a more holistic view of what the consumer wants. An example of this could be a local business wanting to expand online to go national but with little knowledge of the wider audience having a niche local market. Linking with business networks on a larger scale gives them access to experienced and skilled businesses across the country.
Trade conferences, events and Expo’s now these are incredibly valuable as a source of guidance and an eye opener to what other businesses in the same industry are creating and delivering on. I have attending many of these and have always been amazed by the way entrepreneurs and business come up with solutions to problems in so many different ways.
Government. There are often pockets of funding available for entrepreneurs and particularly in areas of interest to the government such as energy saving, environmentally positive ideas. Government want to encourage new and existing businesses to flourish and so are a useful guide and source of support when it come to innovation. They can assist with the legalities of products and services and give advice on how to operate and create safely and legally.
Intellectual Property Office. Patents are the best way to safeguard your brilliant ideas and inventions and this Department are the go to for this, firstly to make sure someone else hasn’t beaten you to it but secondly to advise on patent types and how to protect your product from being copied.
If you are studying the Level 3 Diploma in Management you will find this post assists with the following criteria:
Unit 304 BA59 2.3 Identify sources of support and guidance for business innovation