INSIDE BUSINESS: Fresh insight on new ideas

Firms cannot just assume they will win the innovation lottery. They must work at it

INNOVATION has become like motherhood in business. There is overwhelming evidence that it is a key factor in success. But there is still some mystery about how it can be achieved.

Demystifying the process is a fundamental aim of the programme Managing for Success, run by the South London Training and Enterprise Council (Solotec). The initiative, which is aimed at manufacturing and technology-based companies in Bexley, Bromley, Croydon and Sutton, begins with an innovation workshop at Solotec's headquarters in Bromley on 1 November. The idea is to build on the achievements of companies in the area generate new ideas for small and medium-sized businesses. The Oxford consultancy Thames Valley Technology will play an important part in helping companies identify opportunities and develop action plans.

It is a microcosm of the sort of thing Coopers & Lybrand, the accountants and management consultants, and Henley Management College are trying to encourage with their initiative to persuade businesses to take innovation seriously.

A study carried out by Opinion Research Business on behalf of the two organisations discovered that four in five of Britain's leading companies agree that innovation is essential if companies expect to compete, but only two in five believe that British companies are innovative. Fully 81 per cent believe that British businesses do not reward innovation. To help turn this situation around, Coopers has decided to fund, initially for five years, a chair of innovation at Henley. It will be occupied by Mark Brown, a consultant and academic who specialises in creativity and innovation and will lead the Innovation Research Centre. This will have the objective of researching and disseminating knowledge of best practice.

The programme, launched last week, has been at least partly prompted by the realisation that the low innovation ranking accorded British companies is largely because of the emphasis placed on incremental improvements rather than quantum leaps. Frank Milton, the Coopers partner who is leading the innovation initiative, points to the Japanese car maker that wanted to improve the time spent dealing with door panels during vehicle assembly. Whereas it currently spent twelve hours on the job, the Germans spent four. But rather than seeking to beat that by a narrow margin, the Japanese set a target of twelve minutes as part of a revolutionary plan for speeding up the delivery of cars. They met the target.

Such an approach is indicative of what Mr Milton, a marketing specialist, calls Total Innovation Management. The three-letter acronym and the inclusion of the word total are somewhat predictable, but the idea behind them appears sound enough: for innovation to work and help a company to succeed it must be fully integrated into the company's strategy.

"It's time we all started to take innovation seriously. Companies cannot just assume they are going to win the innovation lottery and hit the jackpot. They have to work at it," said Mr Milton. Those aiming to attend the Solotec event should take note.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

Test Manager - Banking - Yorkshire - £450 per day

£400 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Test Manager - Banking - West Yorkshire - £400-£5...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone