Getting Down TO BUSINESS; NERYS FULLER-LOVE LOOKS AT THE SME SECTOR
Byline: NERYS FULLER-LOVE
SMALL businesses are at the forefront of innovation and creativity in business. They have to be, otherwise they would not be able to compete with the large multi-national companies.
Recently, the government published the Innovation Report prepared by a committee chaired by Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury. The report called for various measures to support innovation in business. One route is through closer links with universities. There will also be a technology strategy, which will provide a framework for policy, and improved business support.
Other initiatives include advice on intellectual property from the Patent Office and campaigns for better design. Finance will be targeted at high value jobs and female entrepreneurs. Business schools will be encouraged to develop the teaching of the management of high technology, high growth businesses as well as new product development.
What is `innovation'? Innovation is defined as `the successful exploitation of ideas'.Although some innovations are dramatic, the majority of innovations are small, cumulative improvements in a product or service. One pre-requisite for innovation is the development of a culture of innovation and creativity within the business, where new ideas are not dismissed out-of- hand but are given considered thought. Others include an investment strategy geared towards developing new products and services or new markets, investment in research and design and skills.
A business does not need to be `hi-tech' or `highgrowth' to benefit from innovation. A positive approach towards innovation and a willingness to try out new ideas is a good start. One of the ways in which a small business can generate new ideas is through networks and exchange of information with other similar small firms. …