December 16, 2018

2.2 Tips for being Innovative in your Business

In most egg sector businesses, innovations do not just happen-they are a team effort.  Most successful innovation occurs through formal research and development for “breakthrough innovations” or less formal in house modifications of practice- such as solving a problem or gradual improvements.

Tips for being innovative in your business

  1. Your employees are likely to have ideas and potential solutions to existing problems which they face on a regular basis. They are often your most valuable asset when looking to innovate.
  2. As well as using existing resources within your business, it can often be worthwhile involving stakeholders, suppliers, customers, and business contacts in the innovation process, as they are likely to have valuable insights and contributions to make.
  3. Research your market and your customers;  find out what product enhancements or changes  they want and what they currently cannot get. Concentrate your innovation in these areas.
  4. Study the market to spot existing trends and target any that can be exploited.
  5. Look at what your competitors are doing. See if you can apply their successful processes to your business, or take advantage of anything they are not doing well (and which you could do better).
  6. Consider investing in a dedicated research and development team.
  7. Review your existing processes to see if there is anything you could do better.

Collaborate

In some cases, egg companies see collaboration as key to their success with innovation. They know they cannot do it all using internal resources. So they look outside for other organisations with complementary skills to partner with – this could be with an academic institute or a supplier or even your industry peers.  An Irish example of such collaboration to solve a problem is the Irish Grain & Feed Association – a group of 10 companies involved in different parts of an industry built around feed for horses came together and pooled  together to work with Teagasc Oakpark to solve a problem they were all facing.

http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/News/MediaLibrary/Innovation/ – Innovation Voucher: Irish Grain & Feed Association

In Spain, support for innovation is mostly provided by the Technological Centers and Technological Innovation Support Centers.   Their aim is to facilitate the application of knowledge generated in research organisations, including technological centers, by intermediating between centers and companies, providing innovation support services.

State Technological Centers are non-profit entities, legally incorporated, domiciled in Spain and created for the purposes of

  • benefitting society as a whole
  • improving the competitiveness of companies by generating technological knowledge, carrying out R&D activities and developing the application thereof.

Some Technological Centers are dedicated to the agri food industry (working on meat, milk, fish, and also on food in general)

Further information is available on Directory of technological centers and technological innovation support centers

http://www.idi.mineco.gob.es/portal/site/MICINN/menuitem.7eeac5cd345b4f34f09dfd1001432ea0/?vgnextoid=967227bba0d90210VgnVCM1000001034e20aRCRD

A useful EU Lifelong Learning Project  website dedicated to the theme of collaboration is www.euc2c.com

Fight the fear of change

Trying new ventures is risky but standing still is even riskier.  Risk assessment should be an essential part of assessing new ideas.  REMARK is a very useful EU Lifelong Learning Project which shares tools and methodologies to address risk management – check out  http://www.remark.lt/remark_cd/5081/fcontent.html

Managing new ideas

When you have identified new innovative ideas for consideration,  it is important to be organised and to have effective ways to qualify and develop them. For example you could organise events, such as workshops, to tease out ideas for specific business areas, and have formal processes to evaluate the advantages of each one.  Is the innovation viable?  Does it solve a problem?  This is called short listing or qualifying ideas.   Here is an Innovation Quiz to help you.

 

Now you have your shortlist of innovative opportunities, did you know there are innovation grants and supports that you can benefit from?

Many businesses want to innovate but don’t know how to go about it; they often see it as too hard, too expensive, or too time-consuming.  Taking advantage of available funding and mentoring support could be a very important development for your business