Innovation is Not Just About Products
Innovation can occur in any aspect of your business. The four most common types of innovation are:
You are probably most familiar with product/service innovation. It involves developing new products or services, enhancing existing products or services, and even technological innovation. GroundProbe, a Queensland company supplying precision measuring instruments to mines around the world, is an example of a company that has successfully used service innovation to enhance its innovative products.
GroundProbe’s brand promise of ‘unique measuring systems’ implies innovation. GroundProbe started with a new application of radar technology – to detect movement in the slopes of mines. This was a significant product innovation. The company quickly discovered that customers weren’t interested in the technology. They needed information that enables them to measure their risk better and they needed to be able to understand the information gathered. GroundProbe’s innovation focus progressed to market demand driven, developing a package of value-added services and new ways of working to meet customer needs, strengthening the company’s competitive position and increasing revenues.
Applying an innovation approach to improving operational processes in your business such as production line developments, financial systems or human resource management can give a competitive advantage. Using information and communications technology (ICT) can help to improve processes. Moriatis Fresh is an example of a company that has innovated in its supply and delivery processes.
Moriatis Fresh is an Australian company that supplies supermarkets, fruit markets and national restaurant chains. Moriatis identified the trend towards rising demands for fresher produce. By placing radio frequency identification tags on tomato trays, the company can track the origin, packing date, type, quality and size of the tons of tomatoes it ships every day. Because it knows the precise amount and quality of tomatoes in its supply chain at any point in time, the company can respond rapidly to retailer requests for a specific volume and grade of tomato. The company can tell its retail customers exactly when and where the produce was grown, packed and shipped, which is particularly important as the world works toward food traceability and safer food supply chains. Improved information also allows Moraitis to pay growers based on the actual quality and number of tomatoes received.
Do you use an innovative approach in taking your products and services to market? Have you found innovative ways to increase your customer base in your current market or even find new markets for your offerings?
Marketing innovation centres around how you promote your offering, your pricing strategies, and the channels that you use to distribute your offering. In recent years the web has been the most significant innovation in marketing channels, offering whole new marketing systems, such as with Amazon.com. Furitechnics has taken an innovative approach to marketing its products.
Innovation is critical to the growth of Furitechnics, a Queensland company that designs and produces some of the best knives in the world. Breaking into a conservative, mature industry dominated by traditional European brands is a challenge. Furitechnics has secured a niche by applying a new skill set, mechanical engineering, to develop a revolutionary design, and by educating the industry.
Furitechnics has achieved considerable success in changing attitudes by sharing its unique knowledge about technical design with its professional cook target market. The company is involved with colleges, delivering training materials and converting them to use Furitechnics products.
Business Model Innovation
Business model innovation has the potential to offer the greatest competitive advantages for a business. Are there opportunities for innovation in the structure and/or financial model of your business? Business model innovation often involves structural changes and strategic partnerships. Some examples of Queensland businesses that have used business model innovations successfully are discussed below.
Collaboration with Clients
GroundProbe has developed formal strategic alliances with some of the world’s leading mining companies, enabling critical insights into the future needs of mining companies and testing the viability of new ideas. This close connection with clients helps to reduce risk.
Collaboration with Distributors
Rinstrum, a Queensland company supplying sensitive weighing machines around the world, has developed a partnership with a US distributor with a complementary product line. This partner’s market research identified the opportunity to incorporate iPod technology into weighing instruments – a first for the weighing market.
Collaboration with Suppliers
Jaden Kanga, a Queensland company that invented the Kanga loader, encourages major suppliers to become business partners, working with the company to complement each others’ business. Jaden Kanga’s approach is that suppliers need to help them sell more loaders since supplier products are taken to market integrated in the loaders. Following this philosophy suppliers have contributed to the cost of marketing through motor racing sponsorship, which would otherwise not be affordable for Jaden Kanga.