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Innovation, its crucial to sustainable business

Audit and Improve / Monday 14th of August 2017

The Government published a Green Paper at the beginning of the year about Building our Industrial Strategy.

It was against a background of a stable government, working towards it BREXIT Goals. The future for the UK’s industrial landscape, could be very different; different relationships, different markets, different challenges. It was right to pose, try to answer questions, and provide direction, impetus and commitment.

Have things changed over the last few months? The intent may be the same but of course the journey to BREXIT has moved on too. New government facing new (and old) challenges for example.

If you, like me look for some insights into the challenges and opportunities which might present themselves from BREXIT, I honestly can’t say that I’m much clearer now, than when I wrote about the Government’s 12 point BREXIT Plan back in the spring.

So do the “Pillars” identified for our industrial future still hold good.

Looking at them, I don't think the fundamentals for an Industrial Strategy are a sea change in thinking and they are really about a common sense approach at government, industry and individual business level. 

But the first Pillar deserves some further scrutiny. It is,  

“Investing in science, research and innovation – we must become a more innovative economy and do more to commercialise our world leading science base to drive growth across the UK.”

The Green Paper talks of innovation in terms of R&D, scientific prize winners, investment in science and technology and the UK’s lack of converting these pure academic innovations into the marketplace.

Although these may lead to great big step changes for society, commerce, industry or consumers, progressive innovative steps are more common and achievable.There is no doubt that the importance of innovation in business has been and will continue to increase. Efficiency (a form of innovation in itself) can take us so far, but if we are to grow, as an economy or in our own business, then innovation is imperative.

But what exactly is Innovation?

It is,

“Innovation generally refers to changing processes or creating more effective processes, products and ideas.

For businesses, this could mean implementing new ideas, creating dynamic products or improving your existing services. Innovation can be a catalyst for the growth and success of your business, and help you to adapt and grow in the marketplace.

Being innovative does not only mean inventing. Innovation can mean changing your business model and adapting to changes in your environment to deliver better products or services. Successful innovation should be an in-built part of your business strategy, where you create a culture of innovation and lead the way in innovative thinking and creative problem solving.”

Source: Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science  www.business.gov.au/info/run/research-and-innovation

So very broad. And as the quote says, not just new inventions, discoveries or products. You don’t have to be inventing a new widget to be innovative.

In many ways, taking the view expressed above, innovation can be absorbed into the language of business and particularly Business Management Systems and Standards as "Continuous Improvement". Small and incremental steps to improving business performance.

“A continual/continuous improvement process, also often called a continuous improvement (CIP or CI), is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek incremental improvement over time or "breakthrough" improvement all at once. Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility.”

Source: Wikipedia

So, Innovation and Continuous Improvement are key to an organisations sustainability in the fast paced, ever changing environment in which businesses operate.

Of course, with our broad experience across sectors and individual business scenarios, Spedan can help with identifying, developing, implementing and reporting on Continuous Improvement.

We can also help you to develop you thinking and understanding of your “Context”. Who you are, what you do, where and how you do it, and where you are going as a business. All of which is key to directing, but also absorbing innovation and continuous improvement within the organisation.

Inside or outside the wrapper of ISO Standards, we are here to help with your business planning, assessment and continuous improvement.

And in supporting sustainable businesses, we too have to innovate. Whether through our Knowledge Base, which provides insight and credible learning about ISO Standards, through to our latest tool “Caybee”. Caybee will provide an organisation wide platform for reference material, collaboration, linked to learning outcomes and recognition.

Interested or need help? Just get in touch here.