The Ffture of innovation will require organisations to find the optimum balance of effort between short term needs for market successes supporting top/bottom line growth and longer term ambitions to develop new technologies unlocking sustainable competitive advantage.
Innovation will still rely on translating business-relevant consumer needs into efficient product executions. However, bringing successful products to markets will become more challenging due to intensifying competitive pressures and need for shorter development times, combined with increasing cost, price and sustainability concerns. In this context, market winners will be those organisations that possess talented professionals, capabilities and processes to:
anticipate future consumer needs earlier than their competitors
be most adaptive to rapidly changing business environments
leverage Science & Technology available internally as well as externally to access best-in-class know-how and accelerate development times, and
leverage global scale to derive competitive advantage in local markets via tailored and speedy execution
Successful companies will also adopt long term perspectives on Science & Technology, in full alignment with their strategic business agenda. This will enable them to devote time and resource to develop solutions to anticipated and key unmet consumer needs that cannot currently be met. A robust translation of a company’s Business and Innovation Strategies into its Technology Strategy component will be key to identify as early as possible where Science & Technology efforts should focus as well as build a sound Intellectual Property Strategy. Technology roadmapping will greatly help build necessary programs (resource required, timeframes to deliveries, fit with strategy, etc.), identify internal technology gaps and external opportunities and ultimately ensure alignment between the Science & Technology program and the Innovation Strategy.
The ability to secure Intellectual Property will provide sustainable competitive advantage when a disruptive technology offers an efficient breakthrough to unlock delivery of a new and relevant consumer benefit. To seek early access to such technologies and fast-track routes to market, companies will strengthen their open-innovation capabilities to build on external know-how and create win-win opportunities where benefits of market successes are shared. When existing technologies are capable of delivering new consumer expectations, operational efficiency and speed to market will be key drivers of market success.
Last but not least, talented and engaged professionals will be at the heart of the Future of Innovation, from identifying insights to unlocking technology hurdles and creatively and efficiently developing and manufacturing quality products. This will require a careful management of team compositions to foster cultural and technical diversity, and access a large pallet of cross-functional skills within teams. As the competitive demands for experienced professionals will continue to increase, attracting and retaining top talent will remain the most powerful enabler of success.