Innovation and the small business

Posted: July 20, 2010 by vikmuse in Idea Factory

Why do businesses innovate, and what is the big deal about innovation anyway? I mean, isn’t it just a case of taking apart an invention and tweak it to make it more appealing and saleable? Sounds like a sure fire winner to me, and just the ticket for anyone out there sharp enough to see the potential of a new invention. And, there lies the rub – the ability to see the potential.

Innovation is serious business, as it all about change that never stops looking and refining the next ‘big idea’. Michael Treschow, Chairman of Unilever call it as putting in the “wow factor” – “where the company’s innovation team bring more highly appreciated products to the consumer so that they say “Wow, this is really something I would like to have.”

Now, this is wonderful if you have an innovation team like Unilever. As would, Nestle, LVMH, Ford, and a host of other medium and large companies that have the resources to hand a blank page to a group and tell them to think of the next ‘big thing’. Innovation is a genuine business tool in any organization’s growth to reach and stay valid to its customer and consumer base.

How then do small businesses innovate? Surely they can’t all be followers or hanging on the coat tails of a larger supply chain. The hanging on allows you to stay in business. However, it does not allow you that small luxury of asking “am I in the business of my choice?” There are enough empirical and historical answers to how a garage shop set-up grew to be a zillion dollar business. But, not much on the innovative process behind that, and the all important identifying of the white spaces in the segment. Once you’ve identified the white space, then you can focus within a defined space, and come up with the next big thing.

Maybe there is a way to provide a ready-made out-of-the-box innovation package to small businesses which helps them to identify the white spaces. This does not mean that there is no place for the whacky idea that takes the world by storm. However, not all of us have that spark to take the science of a business and make a business of the science.

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  1. Thomas Adair says:

    Sorry, if I didn’t spell some words correctly. Thomas

  2. thomas adair says:

    The Ultimate Business and Investing Solution.

    I’ve developed a financial arbitrage, that allowed me to developed a new business model.

    The model allows the buyer to receive a 100% rebate on anything they buy. The model also allows a buyer that financed a product/service to have their monthly payments paid by the business model. The model decreases any business expenses up to 20% a year.

    Thomas Adair

    • Ananth says:

      Thomas – with any financial arbitrage model, there is always a catch, a cost – that can either be hidden….or be explicitly shown. The very nature of arbitrage is just that…you provide for a cost factor spread over time.

      However, have you deployed your business model? If so, with what success rate? And what is your penetration into the market? All these factors, and mode – will go to determine how disruptive your business model is.

      Do write back with details – it will be interesting to see how this can be promoted.


      • Thomas Adair says:


        Had a little time tonight, and stumbled onto this site again. I left my email, because I don’t look back at web site’s all the time.

        You were taught that there is always a catch. You should of been taught that what I developed is impossible too. Just think for a little bit, and look back at all the information you were taught, that was incorrect.

        I’ve actually developed a dozen arbitrages that produce double digit annual returns. All without risk.

        I’ve created arbitrage since 2001. All arbitrages produced double digit annual returns, with no loss.

        I haven’t started my business yet, but I’m in the process of partnering with an individual. We have to think of a business name, finish our responibilities, type of corperation.

        We’ve decided to do B2B, then fan out from there. Doing B2B will indirectly affect some people, maybe even you. Hope to have the ability to help all within a reasonabe time.

        Wish(pray)for me sucess, in trying to partner with the person i’m dealing with now.


  3. Ananth says:

    Hey Viks..totally agree with you. The larger players have the money, the ability to take risks etc. The SMB sector is characterised by lesser cash reserves, and hence the propensity to absorb risk (that is so associated with Innovation) is a lot lesser; some might argue that it is absent!

    This therefore sets the stage for us to provide a canvas that identities not why a company must innovate (people can read blogs, books, research papers, articles etc for this); but a tool that says WHAT you must innovate and HOW do you go about doing this in the context of your business ecosystem.

    Yes, there is a method to take the science out of the business and convert that science into a business itself!

    Great Blog – hits the nerve centre of the problem that SMB’s face today.

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