Many businesses find it too expensive, risky and unpredictable to innovate in the early stages. The March issue of the American publication Harvard Business Review gave some useful tips for businesses on this subject. Their advice is based on research carried out by Langer Lab, part of the prestigious technical university MIT.
- Make sure the research you carry out is user-targeted. Your research should focus on finding solutions for actual problems; moreover, these solutions should ultimately benefit not only the public but also your company’s bottom line. It goes without saying that the research you carry out should concentrate on issues which are a good fit for what your business actually does.
- Promote expertise in a number of different domains, allowing your business to develop its expertise in those chosen areas. This ensures that customers will come to you seeking solutions to their problems.
- Be highly proactive about managing your intellectual property rights. You will benefit enormously from extremely broad, secure patents. You can even get licenses for inventions which you have no intention of ever using. Not only will this increase your income, it will also ensure that nobody else can develop your invention.
- Seek out the very best people – don’t settle for people who are merely average. Choose people who want to make a difference, rather than employees who are simply looking for job security. Instead of offering employees full time contracts, businesses should offer talented people a contract of two to five years, with the possibility of a more involved role in the company if the work they do is successful.
- Be consistent. You need to ensure the long-term security of financial support, the company’s approach and independence from other research units. This is not always easy to achieve. At American company GE, for example, financial approval for research and development (R&D) had to be passed many times from one CEO to the next.
- Make sure you have solid leadership. In other words, look for highly-regarded research leaders who consider it their role in the business to help talented employees whilst also allowing them some freedom. Such leaders are also likely to have excellent networks, something which can benefit you greatly if you are recruiting or looking for partners.
Source: Trends, 16/03/2017, AVP