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Speed is the essence of innovation

Fast innovators tend to be strong innovators too compared to slow innovators, according to a study, and are likely to also be more disruptive as they get new products to the market fast and generate sales quickly

Hamdi Ali Shuriye

Effective management of innovations has be­come a basic precondition for the development of both companies and national economies. At the national level, governments are establish­ing innovation systems whose main goal is to create conditions through which science and technology can flourish.

In a study titled “Managing Innovation Systems in Transi­tion Economies”, Tomislav Bakovic, an assistant professor of economics, quality and innovation at Zagreb university in Croatia, proposes the involvement of private players in policy making and achieving adaptability. This, Bakovic argues, is important for the overall success of innovation policies in transition economies. Somalia is one such recov­ering economy.

Of special importance is that for innovation to be suc­cessful, speed is an important attribute. According to Reck­itt Benckister Chief Executive Officer Rakesh Kapoor, “Size can give you scale, but innovation speed is more critical.”

The article quoting him, titled, “The Most Innovative Companies 2015: Four Factors That Differentiate Leaders”, was published in a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report in December 2015.

“ Size can give you scale, but innovation speed is more critical.”

– Reckitt Benckister Chief Executive Officer Rakesh Kapoor

Speed is a crucial attribute of strong innovators. This is because the speed of innovation enables companies to get a hold of consumer trends whenever they arise, catch competitors flat-footed and drive costs down.

The BCG study identified overly long development peri­ods as a big obstacle to generating returns on innovation and product development. The study further found that fast innovators tend to be strong innovators compared to slow innovators, and are more likely to also be disruptive as they get new products to the market quickly and generate more sales.

BCG found that 42 per cent of fast innovations are like­ly to be strong innovators. In comparison, less than 10 per cent of slow innovators are likely to be strong innovators. This finding specifically solidifies the essence of speed in innovation.

From an innovative perspective, there are two aspects to speed; the rate at which companies develop new products and the pace at which they deliver the products and ser­vices to the market.

BCG has systematically conducted surveys on innova­tion over the last 10 years, and has put together a list of 50 most innovative global companies. The list includes com­panies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Toyota, BMW, Amazon, IBM, Hewlett-Packered, General Electric, Nike, Sony, Intel, and Procter & Gamble, among others.

The most common attributes that have oiled the in­novation culture in these companies, setting them apart, include well-run research and development departments, good use of technological platforms and speed of delivery.

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