New product development (NPD) and innovation are two main approaches behind building, creating and maintaining competitive advantage to ensure commercial success.
Innovation is defined in terms of the ‘commercially successful exploitation of new ideas’. It is becoming ever more apparent that the UK needs to make a conscientious effort to employ innovation in order to remain competitive. In order to realise this potential, organisations must be willing to adjust their traditional ways of working and becoming more ‘organic’ in approach, employing design teams to exploit creative new ways of doing business. It must be understood, however, that as much as business owners need to open up to new ways thinking so must designers be open to engaging with business on their terms such as truly understand financial implications.
A major problem for smaller firms is the ability to access external sources of knowledge that in turn reduces the base from which to build their innovative potential.
Organisations need to be able to adapt and evolve if they wish to survive.
Innovation is not a single action but a total process of interrelated sub-processes. It is not just the conception of a new idea, nor the invention of a new device nor the development of a new market. The process is all these things acting in an integrated fashion. – Myers & Marquis, 1969
Innovation can sound complex but through good design management and appropriate leadership it can be incorporated into your day-to-day running of a business. I would suggest most of the interactions and structure required are mostly already in place and things just need a nudge to lead people to be empowered to deliver on true innovation.
Creativity is not the remit of designers – all employers in a business possess creative skills to an extant. A useful definition of creativity is the ‘the generation of novel ideas’. Whilst organisations are concerned that creative activity should lead to some sort of useful output it should be noted that they should also be careful not to block new creative ideas by evaluating ideas too early or too rigorously.
A more significant challenge is recognising the context in which different creative behaviours are required and setting up the organisational conditions within which people feel motivated and enabled to deploy. – Bessant, 2003
As an organisation you must recognise and understand your product/service triggers. Identify those that are feasible and create a brief to develop them further that incorporates customer needs.