Innovation in Medium-sized businesses

No other sector of our economy is as efficient and strong in innovation as medium sized businesses – not without reason “made in Germany” is a seal of approval worldwide. The continual enhancement of existing products, the integration of staff and clients into product development, flat hierarchies and a flexible ease of handling of new challenges in everyday operations, are all trumps to maintaining competitive advantages. Whilst medium – sized businesses are often maligned for not adjusting to the digital era, it is apparent that their entrepreneurial strengths and agility need only be harnessed correctly to meet the challenges of the new era.

Typical challenges

A competitive edge is not accomplished solely through product innovation. The inter-connection and linkages with a variety of partners that come with advanced digitization (of people, data and products) requires innovation, especially as to services and business models. Such development presents a serious challenge to medium-sized businesses who mainly innovate in R&D departments. A new combination of products, services and business models and selective engagement with networks turn into key factors to achieve and maintain a competitive edge.

Typical Challenges

Problem

Solution

Focus on product

Businesses, particularly the medium-sized concerns often focus on upgrading their products or technologies in preference to innovations that drive new services or business models. However, in an increasingly digitized economy it is exactly those neglected areas that will yield the highest ROI.

Innovations Piano

The Innovation Piano supports enterprises to systematically explore their own innovation capabilities along the entire length of the value creation chain. From product extension and new market access, to the company’s own organisational set-up and the ecosystem of suppliers and co-producers – the Innovation Piano purposefully spurs new innovation scoping where a company’s potential can be unfurled. The cooperation beyond existing work silos creates additional synergies and prepares the enterprise for the challenges of a working environment 2.0.

Digitisation

In the course of digital transformation of the economy, companies increasingly market products and services in collaboration with different partners. Collaborations in networks and ecosystems come with many opportunities yet also introduce new risks that require astute management.

Risk Modelling

Through systematic analysis of different risk categories, the uncertainty of every innovation is transformed into a manageable risk. In addition to classic risk management of operative and strategic decisions, this particularly concerns investment decisions in respect of innovations that are jointly executed with (sometimes little known) partners in networks, cooperative projects or even in so-called private-public partnerships. By means of risk modelling tools those specific risks can be quantified, thus become better evaluated, and balanced with appropriate countermeasures.

Strategic Focus

Without a company-wide management of innovation initiatives, every organisation runs the risk of wasting chronically limited resources in parallel projects, opaque responsibilities and leaving potential synergies untapped. As a consequence, significant efficiency losses, motivational deficit of responsible projects teams as well as an unnecessary slowdown of innovation cycles can follow.

Innovations Portfolio

With the aid of Innovation Portfolios existing and future innovation activities are systematically followed through. In this process, risks and opportunities of every innovation become apparent. Clear criteria and “stop or go” milestones guarantee that available resources are utilized in the best way possible. A balanced risk profile ensures that an enterprise is not involved in activities that sound exciting yet do not deliver results in the long-term. Last but not least, Innovation Portfolios identify and emphasis the synergies between separate innovation initiatives.

The Innovation Helix – a comprehensive system for successful innovating

From innovation to innovation capability:

As important as working on classic stumbling blocks of innovation processes is – enterprises only have a sustainable edge over the competition when they engage in growing their own innovation culture.

Only then development of new products, services and business models becomes a natural part of working on one’s own future fitness.

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