By Guest Contributor David Williams (Director & Standards Mgr. NASI)
Todays startups face many challenges associated with being a startup. Financing is always an issue, global competition, technology to market speed, etc., however startups also have advantages.
In comparison to mature established businesses who have legacy management styles and systems, startups have a clean slate with little to no baggage for developing non-traditional business models that can support innovation that is sustainable.
Startups also have the entrepreneurial advantage over conventional business being able to adopt to change quickly, without the usual resistance and I’m sure some of them will be initiating future change.
In my view startups are creative and inventive (usually technology based). Bottom line they have great ideas that need to be financed for development and commercialization. I think they are perfect candidates for adopting a framework for developing an Innovation Management System.
This Innovation Management System would be a core function of their business fully incorporated into the over-all management system, objectives and strategy which would include the following elements of the framework:
Culture, Leadership, Resources, Processes, Monitoring & Measuring and Improvement.
Startups that implement an Innovation Management System would have many clear advantages over the ones that don’t. In my opinion these two advantages have the most impact:
A/ Have a unique culture and system in place to implement continual innovation.
You can sense and observe a great business culture, you can’t fake it and continual innovation is a must for any business.
B/ Can provide evidence of innovation activities, the good the bad the ugly and actions taken for improvement.
Yes there is some bad and ugly associated with innovation. The good is the idea and its transformation, but also demonstrating (evidence) how you dealt with issues along the way (correction & improvement)shows confidence and maturity.
Look at it from an investor’s perspective. Most startups have a single idea that may or may not work and may not get to market on time. So follow-up versions and support and spin-off products may also not happen. Lots of risk and if I was an investor I would look to shore up some of that risk and having a sustainable Innovation Management System can provide that:
1. They have a unique business culture that is adapted to continual innovation and its a core function of the business.
2. This business culture is also based on their stakeholder needs, expectations and future requirements.
3. They have full and visible management commitment and support with clear and measurable innovation objectives.
4. They have allocated (or plan to) the resources necessary to carry out the innovation activities.
5. They have developed the processes needed to implement the Innovation Management System.
6. Innovation activities are monitored & measured and data is available for review.
7. Systems are in place to correct innovation related issues and to provide continuous improvement, etc…..
It’s better to provide evidence and demonstrate your innovation competency, talk is cheap.