Why Innovation is Crucial for Business Success

Why Innovation is Crucial for Business Success

In today’s fiercely competitive business climate, the importance of continuous innovation cannot be overstated. Quite simply, if you fail to innovate, you stand still – and others will leave you for dust. Innovation need not be a complete overhaul of your business, however; it can take more modest forms, like the refinement of your existing offering. Sometimes, though, it will be necessary to take a complete leap of faith. In this article, we examine the different forms innovation can take, as well as where to find inspiration for change; both within your own business and without. What opportunities for innovation in my business exist? There are always areas in which you can innovate, even if you think you are doing well as a business. Broadly, there are three areas you should look at when... »

Top Tips for Small Business Success

The UK’s most innovative firms share their business secrets Every day across the British business landscape new companies are starting up and fresh ideas are being generated. 2011 has seen a plethora of bolder and better business ideas.  These gems can be new products and service ideas or equally new ways to improve existing offerings. The most important thing for any entrepreneur or start up is how do you take an innovative idea and turn it into a success, delivering bottom line growth. If the UK is to regain its role as a world leader of innovation, British companies must be at the forefront of research and development. Innovation is key for Orange and this is why it has teamed up with some of the UK’s most exciting business innovators and leaders to create a new guide f... »

Tools for Innovation – Beat your Rivals with Innovative Business

Beat your rivals through innovation Entrenched in process and bureaucracy, larger companies can be slow to respond to changing needs. Conversely, the smaller, more agile company can more easily innovate its way to success: ultimately outflanking the behemoths Innovation doesn’t apply specifically to creating new products or services though. It can be just as innovative to do what your competitors are doing faster and more affordably by embracing new techniques. Much like Japanese electronics and automotive companies did during the 1980’s. They aped existing design and technology but their manufacturing techniques produced products more affordably and made them more reliable. Also consider ‘smoothie’ drinks maker Innocent Drinks. They began as a 3-man team in 1999 an... »

New Research & Development Grant for Small Business Innovation

Small businesses will be able to access financial support to fund innovations from April, following the launch of a new government research and development grant. Managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the R&D grant will be introduced on the 4th April 2011 and offer small firms three types of grants ? proof-of-market grant (firms can apply for up to £25,000) proof-of-concept grant (up to £100,000) and development of prototype grant (up to £250,000) The grant will allow small businesses across the UK to research and develop new products, processes and services. The initiative supersedes the Grant for R&D scheme previously managed by the regional development agencies. “Innovative small companies are vital to the UK’s economic future.” said TSB chief executive, Ia... »

New Look Economy: Built on Hi Tech & Innovation

The UK can only achieve healthy economic growth and job creation by boosting its high tech capabilities and innovation across the economy, according to a new report published today by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. Rebalancing Act (1.74Mb PDF) provides new analysis on how to rebalance the economy. It shows that a full-blooded revival of the wider manufacturing sector is wishful thinking and would require growth rates not seen since the Second World War. NESTA worked with Oxford Economics to develop four scenarios for the future balance of the economy, and applied them to an economic forecast model showing how each will affect economic growth, regional performance and employment in the UK. The four scenarios (detailed at the bottom of the release) are: &... »

Lord Digby Jones: Be Innovative to Grow

Small firms must “rediscover innovation” if they want to expand this year, former Confederation of British Industry (CBI) chief Lord Digby Jones has urged. Speaking at the launch of Vodafone’s new London-based small business store, Lord Jones said firms had to adapt to changing needs in order to stay competitive in 2010. Businesses often became stale, he added, because they fail to reinvent themselves. said Jones; “They don’t reanalyse what they’re doing. They think ‘this is working, let’s leave it at that’. But when China wants your lunch and India wants your dinner, they’ll reinvent your idea for sure.” He also stressed the importance of cash in a growing business, and called on small firms not to “bankroll” th... »

Everyday Innovation report

Private, Public and Third Sector Recognise Innovation as Key to Success

A new report published by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) shows that the recession has prompted organisations to make innovation a priority to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive marketplace and return them on a path to growth. The report, Everyday Innovation – How to enhance innovative working in employees and organisations (PDF) includes results from a survey carried out for NESTA by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) on 850 managers in private, public and third sector organisations. It found that 78% of organisations considered innovation important in terms of improving their products and services and 70% said that their focus on innovation has been reinforced. Over half (58%) of all respondents said that the importance of inno... »

Innovation Drives UK Super Companies

Just six% of UK businesses hold the key to job creation and wider prosperity, according to two reports released today by NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). Together, the reports represent the most ambitious mapping exercise of business growth in the UK, mapping the UK’s high-growth firms1 over almost a decade. The analysis reveals that just 11,500, or 6% of UK businesses with 10 or more employees are classed as ‘high-growth’ companies. This small number of businesses has generated around half, or 54%, of new jobs (1.3 million out of 2.4 million new jobs created by all existing businesses with 10 or more employees in the last three years). The reports also reveal that these ‘super companies’ thrive across the country. The North Wes... »

Queens Award for Enterprise

Deadline approaches for Queen’s Awards

The organisers of the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise have called on businesses that have achieved outstanding commercial success to get their award applications in by 31st October 2008. The awards are free to enter, but entrants must have at least two full–time employees, be based in the UK and be able to demonstrate commercial success. Small firms are eligible to enter any of the following award categories: international trade innovation sustainable development. Winners are entitled to display the Queen’s Award emblem on their stationery, advertising, goods and promotional material for five years. They can also fly the Queen’s Award flag at their main premises. Stephen Brice, secretary to the Queen’s Awards office said “The Queen’s Awar... »

Innovation: What our Economy Needs

Innovation: What our Economy Needs

Innovation is key to unlocking talent, boosting productivity and making the UK economy a world leader in ideas according to a recent white paper. After Lord Sainsbury’s Review of Government’s Science and Innovation Policies in October last year, we have a white paper published by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) urging for investment in innovation (the successful exploitation of new ideas). The white paper entitled Innovation Nation (PDF – 923k) sets out UK Government intentions to make the country the best place in the world to set-up and run an innovative business or service and argues that innovation is key to Britain’s prosperity and ability to tackle major issues such as climate change. A key point in the white paper is that innovat... »