Innovation has become one of the most important factors in a company’s growth and success, but discerning what type of innovation category you fit in will help your business find its footing and truly thrive in the current economic climate.
There are several ways that you can positively contribute to your business, whether that’s through creating new and unique products, influencing the cultural impact throughout your business, tweaking your business model, or even upgrading your internal operations.
There is always room to grow and improve and though it may feel that you are constantly striving to ‘stay relevant’ you are actually working smart and staying ahead of the curve. Below we have listed four different types of innovation categories and how you can successfully support and finance them.
Innovation of Products and Services: Staying current
When most people think of Innovation, this is the category they think of. And while there is a reason for that, this type of product innovation really only suits businesses who are continuously creating new products, i.e. technology, electronics, etc. Many of us tend to think of companies like Sony, Dyson or Apple who are continuously creating new technology and new upgrades for existing products, aiming to enhance their customer engagement.
Whatever your market is, having a creative team who is continuously striving to produce new ideas and designs that are tailor-made for your target audience is crucial to success. People are always looking for new features, products, and services that will benefit them in their lives. Staying current by creating relatable and usable products and services will likely raise the product performance and directly influence your target market, keeping them interested and invested.
Cultural Innovation: Diving Into Your Company Culture
As Research and Development (R&D) is a crucial part of business development, a company’s culture can have a direct impact on how well employees embrace R&D (or not). When we think of business culture, the ‘corporate culture’ stands out as a more traditional framework of hierarchy. This type of company culture frequently does not tend to help creativity flow and can prevent employees from doing their best work.
Creating a positive work environment where respect flows in all directions, both up the chain and down, will increase your employees’ productivity and quality of work. By encouraging colleagues to express their ideas without fear of reprisals, you are more likely to introduce a positive and effective R&D culture into your business.
Communication is key. Avoid micromanagement where possible and ensure your staff have all the skills and training they need to succeed and the full backing of their management team. If a positive R&D culture is not the focus, your company is more likely to fall victim to the long-term depletion of Innovation and creative new concepts.
Company Innovation: Revamping Your Business Model
As mentioned above, all companies are continuously striving to be successful, innovative and relevant. Business model innovation is one of the best places to begin dissecting your business and restructuring it when needed. Every company will have to restructure their model at some point, and it’s best to do this when you are stable. There are always better ways to create, outsource and promote your products, services, giving you the competitive advantage you need.
The only way to keep up with competitors is by offering current and new markets something different and/or better. Take Aldi for an example. Unlike many of their budget competitors, they offer no extra frills, cafes, toilets, or parking attendants. These are just a few of the ways they can keep costs low while still being a massive competitor to other supermarkets.
Though it can be difficult to come up with new ways to revamp and improve your business model, it could ultimately make your business run smoother, more efficiently and save money where possible.
Operational Innovation: Restructuring Company Operations and Processes
Operational Innovation should not be mixed up with operational excellence, as they are very different concepts. Though many people do confuse the two, operational Innovation is what requires companies to rethink and redesign their processes from top to bottom.
Operational excellence refers to a company running smoothly and efficiently. Operational Innovation refers to the creation of new innovative processes that can be put in place to maximise your existing company processes and production.
Creating new systems that will best benefit the company with both the internal and external operations is well known for radically changing businesses and promoting their success. This could relate to how a company provides customer service, developing products, completing customer orders or any other activities a company performs.
How Do I Minimise the Risks of Innovation?
The best way to think about Innovation and the risks involved is to also remember that almost everything a business does can be considered a ‘risk’. Though Innovation can seem daunting and uncertain, remaining stagnant as a business will not maximise your time or money and commonly results in an unsuccessful business long term.
Here are some of the things you can look into, to help reduce the risks:
Applying For a Grant – As there are various local, national and EU grants out there to help support your business, it’s a good idea to begin researching what best suits your business. Here at TBAT, we are here to help find you a good fit and guide you through the application process.
Seeking Professional Advice – By sourcing R&D tax consultants like TBAT, we will be able to advise you on your eligibility for Tax Credits, how to claim successfully, how to maximise the claim value and highlight the potential risks for your business.
Collaborations and Joint Ventures – Collaborating with other businesses and institutions will not only help with the costs and risks of Innovation but will also enhance the experience and knowledge of your employees.
How Can TBAT Innovation Help?
The TBAT process is aimed to make R&D Tax Credit claims simple and easy for your company. Whether you are a small or large company, our 5-step plan will allow you to finish the tax claim with extensive financial and technical reports, all approved by one of our experienced TBAT Consultants.
Read our guide to a successful Innovate UK Grant Application, addressing the key areas and questions, with a few top tips along the way!
Innovate UK Launchpads is a program designed to uplift emerging clusters of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. Tailored to specific geographic clusters, each Launchpad welcomes businesses of all sizes, extending innovation funding, support services, and networking opportunities. Discover the current Launchpad funding opportunities.
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