In the business world, innovation is a vital, dynamic process. It can take the form of improving your company’s efficiency or introducing a new product, enhancing your existing services or implementing new ideas. Innovation helps you adapt and thrive in the marketplace, driving the growth and success of your business. Being innovative does not mean inventing – waiting for a flash of inspiration – but proactively changing your business model and adapting to changes in your environment to deliver better products or services. Successful SMEs understand innovation does not end once they win their first customers, but is ongoing – an evolving process requiring constant attention. When innovating, you and your business can: Carry out an analysis of your marketplace, your customers’ n... »
Innovation for Growth
Innovation for Growth
When the word innovation is mentioned, what does it conjure up for small businesses? Expensive new technology? Ground-breaking R&D? Cutting-edge equipment and ideas? Whilst that may be true at one end of the scale, innovation is well within reach of small businesses.
Innovation is a relative concept. To the traditional mail order retailer, selling online is innovative. Companies with paper filing systems find electronic filing to be an innovation. Even simple steps to make a business more efficient are steps towards be an innovative firm.
For companies who are already using innovation to drive their businesses forward there is scope to further apply innovative tools, ideas and processes.
Ultimately, anything new to business is an innovation.
New innovations in a business bring positive effects and usually allow for business growth. That’s why we’re highlighting the fact to UK SMEs that innovation is attainable.
What is Innovation?
With this in mind we ask What is Innovation? with an article that looks into the concept of innovation and what benefits it can bring to your business.
The business advice article points out that innovation is not sitting back and waiting for an idea or solution to come along but involves your business being more proactive; actively seeking out new ways in which to benefit, thrive and grow.
We also look at the options available to small and medium-sized businesses with the tangible benefits of Innovation Vouchers which can be used to bring innovative ideas, products and services to your venture.
Innovation Vouchers are designed so that your business can get in touch with organisations that it might never have otherwise connected to, bringing the benefits of new insights, ideas, services and technology.
Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency, operating at arm’s length form the Government but reporting to the the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
The aim of the Technology Strategy Board is to accelerate econoomic growth by stimulating innovation.
Read more about the Technology Strategy Board.
Smart Innovation Funding
The Technology Strategy Board povide a number of grants for pre-startups, startups, small and medium-sizeed businesses to research, develop and produce innovative products, services and processes.
With funding possibilities for proof of market, proof of concept and development of prototype, Smart innovation funding can finance breakthrough projects. See our article on Smart Innovation Funding for more information.
From Concept to Commercialisation
The Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s national innovation agency, have produced a strategy guide for businesses to successfully exploit innovation. Read Concept to Commercialisation (876k PDF)
Supporting Innovation in SMEs
The European Leonardo da Vinci programme and the InnoSupport partnership have produced an extensive guide to help SMEs understand and apply innovation. Read Supporting Innovation in SMEs (3.4Mb PDF)
Whatever you decide to do with your business it is well worth looking at the concept of innovation and talking to the bodies that provide innovative solutions. There could be something there to offer you that will make your business thrive and grow and that means a win-win situation.
Operating at arm’s length from the Government but reporting to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) the Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. The primary aim of the Technology Strategy Board is to fund and drive economic growth in the UK through innovation and finances innovative projects to deliver this goal. This is done through a strategy of improving the route from concept to commercially viable products, services and processes, connecting all the UK’s points in the innovation landscape and investing in areas deemed to be high priority in delivering innovation. The Technology Strategy Board believes that economic growth and opportunities are best realised when the country can seize upon particular issues and innovate rapidly. By ... »
Provided by the Technology Strategy Board and previously known as the Grant for Research and Development, Smart is an innovation funding scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Businesses looking to develop Research and Development (R&D) projects in the fields of science, engineering and technology with the potential to deliver beneficial new products, processes and services can apply for support from the Smart scheme. Three types of grant are available to SMEs: Proof of market Proof of concept Development of Prototype Proof of market The proof of market grant is for businesses to assess the commerical viability of their project. SMEs can apply for a grant of up to 60% of project costs and up to £25,000. Projects can last up to 9 months. The proof of market grant ca... »
What are Innovation Vouchers? Whether you are just starting up or you own and run an established small or medium sized business, Innovation Vouchers have been designed to encourage firms to seek out new knowledge from outside their current networks. The idea is that by using an Innovation voucher to pay for external experts, your business can innovate, develop and grow. Expert assistance can include getting advice on an innovative idea you might have, managing and using intellectual property rights or incorporating design into your business. The expert suppliers include: universities & colleges research & technology organisations intellectual property advisers design advisers Businesses must bid for Innovation Vouchers and successful applicants will be awarded up to £5,000 to... »