How to Create a Sustainable Innovation Strategy for Your Business

Innovation and Development

How to Create a Sustainable Innovation Strategy for Your Business

Posted 25 February

Creative thinking, innovation and entrepreneurship

Innovation turns ideas into profit. Whether it’s a brand-new product, a unique service or an ingenious change in process, innovation can be the key to success and making your business stand out in any market.

In business, it’s vital not to rest on your laurels, and 84% of executives say that innovation is important to their growth strategy. Consider companies such as those from the 90s tech boom or the first wave of social media in the 00s, which were once at the forefront of innovation, but have now slipped out of the public consciousness and been replaced by the next big thing.

Putting in place and fostering a sustainable innovation strategy can help a company either challenge market leaders or maintain a competitive advantage.

You can find full details of our Springboard courses, including Innovation and New Enterprise Development, here at Galway Business School in Ireland, or continue reading to learn about the fundamentals when it comes to defining a sustainable innovation strategy for your business.

Jump to:

How important is innovation in business?

What is the relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship?

How can you use innovation to start a new business?

How can you develop an innovation strategy for your business?

Where do the best business ideas come from?

How important is innovation in business?

The reasons that businesses succeed in today’s challenging market can be tricky to pin down. It could be a memorable advertising campaign, solid customer service, or a game-changing product. There’s one key attribute that all success stories share, though: innovation.

Embracing innovation is incredibly important for any business. Innovation can help your company expand, keep you popular and relevant, and be the difference between success and failure. 

What is the relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship?

Innovation is the million-dollar idea that no one else has thought up yet. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a new invention – simply some focused, creative thinking to facilitate the growth of your company.

Entrepreneurship is taking your stand-out idea and putting it into practice. An entrepreneur uses innovation to build a successful business. Entrepreneurship involves risk-taking, planning, management and lots of hard work – all on top of a great idea. Without entrepreneurship, innovation can simply remain a dream.

Year 4 GBS Students, Study Abroad Trip Prague

Year 4 GBS Students, Study Abroad Trip Prague

How can you use innovation to start a new business?

So you’re sitting on a great idea but don’t know what to do next? Perhaps it’s time to take your innovation and create a new startup business? Here are some important steps to follow on your journey to profitable entrepreneurship:

  • Create a business plan: A startup business plan is fundamental because it provides you with a focused overview of your company’s long-term aims and strategy, along with being a credible means of attracting investment.
  • Intellectual property:  You don’t want somebody taking your great ideas, do you? ‘IP’ can be protected in the form of trademarks, copyright and patents.
  • Financing your new business: There are a variety of ways to finance your business, including a bank loan, government-issued new-business grants, and unsecured loans (from family and friends).
  • Equity investment: To get your startup off the ground, you may consider outside investment from a venture capitalist.  

How can you develop an innovation strategy for your business?

Entrepreneurship and innovation management are things a lot of businesses are increasingly focusing on as they look to instil this kind of culture and mindset in their employees.

An innovation strategy is the way you actively create an environment that encourages and can build on innovation. Creating a culture of innovation can give a company that sought-after competitive advantage. Here are some simple steps to consider when developing your innovating strategy:

  • Market research: Would your innovation be successful in the market? Perhaps you could do some customer research? Is there a gap?
  • Consider your opportunities: A new innovation has to be dealt with appropriately so think carefully about best practices. Do you need to use social media? Collaborate with another company? Expand to a new market?
  • Consult an expert: Nobody expects you to have all the answers and there’s no shame in connecting with a business expert to get some advice. This outside networking and consultation may also lead to funding and investment opportunities.
  • Freshen up your business plan: Your business is ever-evolving with new innovation and ideas, so make sure your business plan stays up to date and reflects any new direction you choose to take.

Where do the best business ideas come from?

Everybody wants to conjure up a great idea. Here are some techniques you can try to get those creative juices flowing:

  • Problem-solving: Countless businesses, products and services have been formed through necessity. Whenever life throws a problem at you, instead of getting annoyed by it, find the solution.
  • Improvement: Your existing product or service works well and is profitable? Great. But don’t sit back and relax. How can it be better? Faster? More profitable?
  • Brainstorming: Coming up with ideas on your own or as part of a larger focus group can lead to innovation. Just make sure you stay focused and have some clear aims and set yourself a time limit.
  • Customer research: Listen to your customers. Whether this is via direct, open-ended interviews or closed-question surveys, customer feedback is hugely valuable in generating ideas.
  • Serendipity: Unplanned innovation is perhaps more common than you think. What’s found is not always what’s being looked for. Be open-minded and consider all ideas.

First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship

Creativity is vital when it comes to success in today’s business market. If you want to improve your knowledge and understanding, and work towards a certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship, check out a Springboard course at Galway Business School

The Springboard initiative gives you the opportunity to upskill and retrain in a variety of different areas free of charge if you’re unemployed, or for a contribution of 10% for those in work.

One such module is Galway Business School Innovation and New Enterprise Development. This course looks into the main concepts and techniques of entrepreneurial management, innovation and entrepreneurial strategies, important innovative business practices, and the relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship.

Sources

50+ statistics on innovation – What do the numbers tell us?

How to set up an innovation start-up business

Innovation Strategy – What is it and how to develop one?

Key Difference – Innovation vs Entrepreneurship The importance of innovation in business