Products and/or services form the cornerstone of successful business operations, which means that innovation is part of the strategic core of any business. Hence, the business strategy of a company should take at least the following matters into account:
• Coming up with new ideas. Companies must stay sharp and adaptable in order to find new ideas for products or services. Fresh ideas can spring from the ranks of company personnel, external sources or changes in the market situation, for example. The management principles of a company must entail an effective process for discovering and identifying ideas.
• Continuous product development. Product development does not stop when a popular retail product is launched to the market: the needs of consumers change, the products of competitors move forward, and the competitive environment is in a state of constant transition. As part of the strategic development of their business operations, companies must develop their products and services to correspond with the ever-changing market needs.
• Monitoring the market situation. The factors behind the success of a product do not lie solely in its features. The competitive environment also has its role to play: the features of competitive products or new inventions in the field, trends in consumer behaviour, special characteristics of customer segments, and cultural and social factors related to the operating environment. Particularly when entering new and foreign market areas, it is essential to adapt the products to the targeted customer segment. Monitoring the development of the competitive environment, obtaining the latest market data and anticipating changes are integral elements of controlling innovation activities.
• Protecting ideas, products and competence. Companies must devise their business strategies in such a way that keeps their competitors from utilising their ideas, inventions, hit products, unique service models or expertise. In the early stages, ideas and inventions must be kept confidential, until the rights to them can be secured by means of patents or trademarks, for example. Selecting the protection methods and monitoring the appropriate rights are essential parts of a business strategy that can cement a favourable position in the market.
The management of innovation activities is about controlling the above-mentioned elements, securing the proper resources, scaling the investments, increasing or obtaining the necessary competence and integrating the development processes into the company’s business processes.
Utilising expert knowledge
A wide variety of public information sources, expert assistance, guidance and sources of financing are available for the diverse needs of innovation activities. They should be utilised to support the development of your company. In all phases of product development, it is advisable to use the available expert services to obtain background information, assess ideas and find financing.
Regional Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment assist SMEs with all questions related to business development. The Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) offers guidance with questions pertaining to the protection of products and product features, as well as information on the monitoring of technological development and the competitive environment, for example.
Business infrastructure analysis (If you would like to continue with the analysis later on, create a workspace and conduct the analysis there.)
Growth Track (Kasvuväylä) – A service for SMEs that pursue rapid growth and internationalization