Finding innovation

Innovation is the lifeblood of any successful economy, turning ideas into products, processes and services that help it to grow.

 

What is innovation?

Innovation is the art or science of translating existing inventions and ideas into practical products, processes or services that can be used in everyday life. An invention, on the other hand, is something that was previously undiscovered. Innovation connects the dots between inventions. Spotting potential for improvement, it cleverly fills a gap in the market and combines inventions into products that will attract customers and generate commercial success.

Innovation is a vital part of a successful knowledge economy. This type of economy needs:

  • Research to invent or discover new things
  • Innovation to link these new inventions with existing knowledge to create usable products or services
  • Development activity to make the innovation ready for market with a profitable supply chain
  • Businesses that create value within the economy by reliably and consistently supplying the innovative product or service to the market profitably
  • Innovation is an intensely collaborative activity that brings together knowledgeable people with a range of ideas and skills. It proves and demonstrates that an initial idea or invention can develop into something people want and which can be manufactured with the core attributes the market requires.

How to enable innovation

There are a few factors that need to be addressed for innovation to be successful. Firstly, there needs to be a change in the market, product or service that leads to a new product or service being in demand. Once the product or service is developed, a supply chain must then be established to deliver it to the people that need it. Specifiers, legislators and regulators will also have to support the adoption of the new product. There also needs to be an attractive value/price combination, meaning the product or service has to have a price that people are prepared to pay for the value it brings them.

Something that is often forgotten is that it can take many years for an innovation to get to the market. Therefore, the people and companies that are making the innovation need to have a long-term commitment to its success, and they need to collaborate with other organisations to realise what is often initially a dream.

Most often, innovations fail due to a lack of understanding about the market. The ‘valley of death’ is when innovations fail to make it to commercialisation because the market is not ready for them. By providing open-access innovation services, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult can help innovators assess their ideas and get them to market more quickly, efficiently and at a lower risk.

Our innovation model

A systematic approach to both project development and delivery is essential to deliver the needs of organisations involved in innovation. CPI offers an integrated process that supports universities, SMEs and large corporates to overcome the challenges associated with innovation.

As part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, we implement structured innovation processes with our partners to help them prove that their manufacturing processes can be carried out economically and repeatedly. We help our partners to access equipment and skills they don’t have or can’t afford, thereby encouraging more companies to pursue innovative activities leading to competitive advantage for the UK.

Read more from Issue 7 of HVM Connect here

CPI Innovation Continuum

The use of CPI’s Innovation Integrator model helps partners manage their innovation process by identifying when and how to move to the next stage of development. Once the key areas for development have been identified, our experienced technologists and skilled business teams can help the company to progress.

Author: Graham Hillier, Director of Strategy and Futures, Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)