Gearoid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland‘s divisional Manager for Research and Innovation, speaks about the challenges facing Ireland.
When challenges arise for businesses, such as the current uncertainty over Ireland’s future relationship with our biggest trading partner, a range of strategic responses are recommended, which generally involve driving competitiveness in your company.
Business innovation is about creating and profitably, applying new ideas in a company, bringing new products, new processes and new services to customers. The spectrum of impacts can range from major product or service-line breakthroughs, through to finding more efficient ways of working.
Innovation strategy is all about identifying “a portfolio of possibilities”, which constitute the strategic parameters for an enterprise’s R&D work. Secondly, and equally as important, is innovation management.
This involves environmental scanning to carefully identify the projects to be pursued; developing metrics for monitoring progress; and testing the feasibility of a research project through early experimentation at the outset, which helps resolve uncertainty around areas such as resourcing, budgeting and a clearer idea of the outcome.
That is why a core tenet of innovation best practice is ensuring the work is tapped into the constant pulse of customers’ requirements.
If possible, test your progress with them as you go through the process. Before starting, companies should have access to the necessary facilities and equipment. A dedicated senior manager should be appointed and if the enterprise does not have appropriately skilled staff, then plug the gap through external hiring.
Retaining the right consultant or advisor or collaborations are other options. In many cases, innovation provides scaling opportunities for the future and gives businesses an edge on their competitors and therefore a better share of the market. Product design is essential to most offerings, and with many having one-to-three-year lifespans, continual renewal is needed. Hence the advice to keep investing in Innovation in good times and bad.
This is not just theory. The hard facts from our annual analysis of our clients’ financial performance go back many years and cover periods when business conditions were at their most expansive and during deepest financial crisis.