The Innovation Process at Unique World – Part 1

Managing innovation at an SME like Unique World is really all about people management. People, not technology, are the source of the ideas that can become opportunities. People, not organisations, act on business concepts.

Our approach at Unique World is still in its formative stages, but in essence, it is about taking new ideas and allowing them to be reviewed and either approved, tweaked or rejected by a representative committee of our people.

Once the idea’s have passed thru the committee stage they are taken to the executive of our business who ultimately decides if the idea has a robust enough business case and alignment with our core business and strategy to merit real capital investment. Or if the idea should be put on hold pending further time, information or consideration.

Luckily, Unique World already has many of the attributes an SME needs in order to allow innovation to flourish:

  • An open culture that responds to staff, customers and suppliers; and
  • We know that Innovation requires creativity and creativity requires time.

Whilst we are still working out some of the logistics associated with taking a consulting based organisation (where time equals billing) to one where the appropriate levels of an individual’s ‘billable’ time is allocated to creativity. We are already seeing changes in behaviour of both management and staff in how they are able to create time for that creativity to occur.

Tim Mazzarol, Director of the Centre of Entrepreneurial Management and Innovation in Western Australia, advises: ‘Contemporary innovation management requires the active participation of all employees with adequate rewards and recognition of such behaviour. Management plays a key role in this process, motivating employees to seek innovative solutions and identifying opportunities for enhanced innovation via interactions with the customer. It is important for organisations to build innovative management systems able to assist with the facilitation of knowledge sharing and commercialisation’.

As Tim points out innovation is more than just the commercialisation of idea’s – it is a holistic management system, that is able to facilitate knowledge sharing, customer/ client and partner interactions as well as commercialisation. At Unique World, we are not quite at this level of maturity but I can see a day where we will be.

Part 2 in a few days time, got any comments or questions about our process – send em thru…

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