The tool, at www.indutech.co.za/ica gives business people a dose of reality that lets them know if they are truly moving their business in new directions, or just polishing the knobs.
Niek du Preez, CEO of Indutech, says there is a lot of confusion about what innovation really means. Its an overused and frequently misunderstood term. Innovation is often confused with creativity, which its not. Having good ideas is where creativity resides. Taking the idea to commercial success is innovation. If its not making real and measurable changes to the business, its not innovation.
Most of what is called innovation is more often just tweaking whats already established. Increasing production efficiencies and product lines can increase revenue. But this isnt radical, game-changing innovation. Its more along the lines of continuous efficiency improvement, says du Preez. You know you are on the verge of something really innovative when it terrifies the pants off you and your CEO!
By answering the Indutech Innovation Capability Assessments eleven questions at www.indutech.co.za/ica, respondents will be provided with a maturity rating which reveals how ready their business is to support and get value out of innovation, and whether they have the capability to see a good idea mature from a brainwave into lasting change that becomes part of the organisation.
The evaluation assesses the three business areas that impact innovation: innovation process, knowledge and competence, and organisational support. A business innovation capability can range from ad hoc innovation that happens now and then, through to having a fully integrated innovation strategy that consistently produces commercially successful products, services or processes.
“This online tool is a distilled version of the detailed assessment we use with our clients. It will not give the full picture, but it is a good first step to knowing whether your assumptions about how pioneering you are, are genuinely true, says du Preez.
The latest global downturn has put pressure on all manufacturers and developers. We know that R&D is expensive and those who would ordinarily be throwing money at innovation have become more cautious. That said, now is the perfect time to innovate. Companies that radically transform in a downturn reap the reward when the markets turn. Sometimes it takes more than doing things differently you need to do different things.
Indutechs process and supporting technology platform, EDEN, have been recognised as international best practice and now provides a supporting electronic platform for a book entitled Innovation Management for Technical Products by Walter Eversheim, which was launched in Europe in October this year.
Innovation is not a soft nice-to-have. Its a hard edged profit driven business activity that catapults companies beyond the reach of their competitors, concludes du Preez.