These man-made seals and penguins add value for the tourists 24/7, no matter the weather.
Innovation is the key to adding value fro customers
I am guilty of making the same mistake many people make about innovation, believing it’s usually about state-of-the-art inventions. It’s not, it is more about making improvement to the way you do things
Most good inventions are not seen as such when they first hit the market. After all, if everybody could invent it, it would have been invented years ago.
You need to have the ability to perfect a product or service and continually improve it until it shines.
Don’t think outside the box, then think like there is no box.
Two classic cases relating to innovation
Despite these dramatic advancements, the Swiss hesitated in embracing quartz watches. At the time, Swiss mechanical watches dominated world markets. In addition, excellence in watchmaking was a large component of Swiss national identity.
From their position of market strength, and with a national watch industry organised broadly and deeply to foster mechanical watches, many in Switzerland thought that moving into electronic watches was unnecessary.
Others outside of Switzerland, however, saw the advantage and further developed the technology, and by 1978 quartz watches overtook mechanical watches in popularity, plunging the Swiss watch industry into crisis while at the same time strengthening both the Japanese and American watch industries. This period of time was marked by a lack of innovation in Switzerland at the same time that the watch-making industries of other nations were taking full advantage of emerging technologies, specifically quartz watch technology, hence the term “quartz crisis”.
As a result of the economic turmoil that ensued, many once-profitable and famous Swiss watch houses became insolvent or disappeared. This period of time completely upset the Swiss watch industry both economically and psychologically.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, technological upheavals, i.e. the appearance of the quartz technology, and an otherwise difficult economic situation resulted in a reduction in the size of the Swiss watch industry. Between 1970 and 1988, Swiss watch employment fell from 90,000 to 28,000.
“The story of the Swiss watch industry is a good reminder of what happens if the business of any shape or size doesn’t have an innovation program”. Peter Sergeant.
Outside of Switzerland, the crisis is often referred to as the “quartz revolution”, particularly in the United States where many American companies had gone out of business or had been bought out by foreign interests by the 1960s. When the first quartz watches were introduced in 1969, the United States promptly took a technological lead in part due to microelectronic research for military and space programs. It was American companies like Texas Instruments, Fairchild, and National Semiconductor, who started the mass production of digital quartz watches and made them affordable.
It did not remain so forever; by 1978 Hong Kong exported the largest number of electronic watches worldwide, and US semiconductor companies came to pull out of the watch market entirely. With the sole exception of Timex, the remaining traditional American watch companies, including Hamilton, went out of business and sold their brand names to foreign competitors.
A similar story can be told about the camera industry. The camera industry story can also be used to illustrate the difference between incremental and radical innovation. Kodak led the industry for years, developing new and improved products based on the traditional film. However, these incremental innovations were all based on the same technology. Later, a radical innovation, digital imaging, revolutionised the industry and the way people capture, store and use images.
Innovation can be incremental or radical
Do you have a continuous improvement program? Have you ever made improvements to existing technologies, processes, products or services? This type of innovation is called incremental innovation. It’s the most common form of innovation and often produces incremental or organic growth.
In contrast, radical innovation can mean a high level of uncertainty with bigger risks, even though there is the potential, for very high returns.
Incremental innovation focus on organic growth
- Involves little uncertainty.
- Exploits existing technology.
- Focuses on cost reduction.
- Improves competitiveness within current markets or industries.
- Addresses improvements in existing products or services.
- Looks at improving processes and business models.
Radical innovation focuses on strategic growth
- Explores new market opportunities.
- Explores new technology.
- Can involve long lead times and high uncertainty.
- Focuses on unprecedented performance.
- Creates a dramatic change which can transform entire markets or industries.
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Have I seen some great innovations in small business? Yes, and most of it going nowhere because the people involved don’t rate their innovation as much to be excited about. They don’t do any research and they show it to anyone who shows and interest. You can guess who wins from their innovations.
You are probably already innovating in your business hoping to be successful, but may not have thought about putting an innovation program in place This would help your business to do more innovation and to do it on purpose, giving your business the boost you have been hoping to achieve.