5 Steps to Innovation Success
Many believe that an innovative idea has to be all-singing and all-dancing, usually a technological or gadget inspired solution, but that’s not always the case. Here at Acceleration Through Innovation (ATI), we view innovation differently.
Accredited by internationally renowned Innovation Experts, The Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange, we recognise that innovation spans a multitude of things; from embracing a culture of innovation within your business, to adopting new technologies and materials, as well as inventing new products and services.
Being innovative is all about problem solving. To be more precise, it’s about solving problems in a relevant and new way. And, just as problem solving is a skill that can be learned and improved upon; ATI believes businesses can learn to be more innovative too. Simply by following our five step innovation process:
Step 1: Research and Investigate
Whether you’re a business with a new idea, you’re looking to improve an internal process, or you’re wanting to introduce a culture of innovation within your business – it all begins with researching and investigating the problem (or problems). This part of the process can take many forms and is designed entirely around the direction and strategy of the business. It’s equally as important to look inside and outside the organisation, to identify any inefficiencies, opportunities, threats and market disruptors that could change how your business operates in the future.
Step 2: Define Your Challenge
Once you’ve identified the key problems facing your business, it’s now time to define your challenge. This step is for collating all your ideas, and the possible solutions, so that you can weigh-up the options and assess any barriers preventing you from taking your idea forwards. For example, there may be a knowledge or skills gap within the organisation. This is where businesses working with ATI can benefit from accessing valuable university resources, such as: world-class research and innovation expertise, market research, specialist consultancy, guidance on IP and help with prototyping.
Step 3: Generate and Test Ideas
Generating and testing your ideas will increase your chances of innovation success and minimise the risk of failure. Here, businesses should be focussing their efforts on obtaining proof of market and idea feasibility. To do this, it’s recommended that businesses take the idea from concept through to investing the minimum resources (and funds) necessary to be able to test the innovation. This could entail making the first prototype, piloting a new service or rolling-out an internal process change to a small part of your business. In doing so, audience testing will provide valuable insights to ensure your idea is worth pursuing on a larger scale. Likewise, it provides businesses with the opportunity to refine the offering. Whilst not all ideas will be successful, testing is vital to recognise failure and avoid unnecessary losses.
Step 4: Apply for funding
ATI acknowledges that innovation can be a cost to your business, but a lack of finance shouldn’t prevent the pursuit of innovation. Here’s where the ATI Innovation Fund can help. With support from an ATI Business Innovation Advisor and Fund Manager, eligible SMEs can apply for grants between £2,500 and £10,000, for both capital and revenue costs in the following areas; proof of market, proof of concept, prototyping, IP protection, and new product or service generation.
Step 5: Profit and Success
Innovation isn’t a linear process, in fact, successful innovation and profitability comes as a result of continually following these five steps. In doing so, businesses will get better at problem solving and become more innovative, leading to growth, increased profitability and sustainable business success. Using our innovation process, businesses achieve a culture of innovation, helping you to expand in existing markets or branch into adjacent and new emerging areas.
To find out more about ATI and speak to a Business Innovation Advisor today, register your interest in the programme using the button at the top of the page or call us on 01209705166.