Karl Angove, managing director of Epson Iberia, shares the recipe for success for companies seeking to promote innovation.
Time moves in one direction only. We must be ready and continue to evolve at that time. Technology has become a central lever in our evolution as a species and it looks like it will continue to do so. In good economics, people invest in technology to take advantage of business opportunities. They invest in their retirement to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
If we want to meet the current social, economic and environmental challenges of the world, we need to build on the best resource: innovation. The future will lead those who reap the benefits of sustainable technological innovation. There will always be room for new ideas and technology-based solutions.
But there lies the question: how can companies around the world foster innovation?
There is no one way, but there are some simple steps that can help. Here are some of the key ingredients to consider in any way we venture;
to have focus
Innovation works best when solving a problem and achieving a goal. Not that it is so much to be adhered to, but that it is necessary to achieve what is the matter. Unfortunately, some companies that start to innovate end up falling into a trap that makes little or no impact. This is because they do not take the necessary time to define the problem they are trying to solve, or because they do not put the necessary focus on organizing and promoting ideas.
Some people think that, since chaos and creativity often seem to go hand in hand, there are no limits to the effort put into ideas that will bomb. But innovation is something else. Create value. As Steve Jobs used to say: “People believe that focusing on something means saying yes to what you focus on. But it is not. It means saying no to a hundred other good ideas. Know how to choose accurately. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.”
The more you focus your efforts on innovation, the greater the opportunities to create solutions. For Epson, innovation meets the needs of its customers in a sustainable way. Through the development of its zero-heat technology, Epson has helped companies reduce their environmental impact by providing services and products made from efficient, compact and accurate technology, reducing energy consumption and increasing precision and performance.
to have enemies
Competition is a lever that facilitates innovation. It fundamentally forces companies to innovate to differentiate themselves, especially in terms of product offerings and business models. Technology is evolving rapidly, and industry leaders are constantly striving to make production processes more efficient in order to deliver new and better products and services to their customers.
At Epson, an example of this difference is our focus on inkjet versus laser printing. We recently announced that we will have to stop the sale and distribution of laser printers in 2016 due to our environmental commitment, but the company’s goal is to dispose of lasers in general.
In fact, switching from laser printers to inkjet printers could cut global emissions from printing processes in half, while also saving electricity by more than 2,240 GWh per year, equivalent to 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, or so. the same thing that 280,175 cars do every year.
Invest in knowledge and training
The global investment in research and development (R&D) is truly incredible. In 2019 alone, companies around the world spent $2.3 trillion on R&D – about half of which was spent by industry and the rest by governments and academic institutions.
Investment in R&D is responsible for key technologies from which companies can develop new products, services and business models. But in order to create R&D value, it must organize a basic and integrated function in the mission function.
R&D teams need STEM skills – now and in the future – and these should be valued. To drive innovation, companies need people to be able to explore and learn new skills, and to be able to understand the latest advances in science and technology.
In the dynamic, uncertain, and complex environments that businesses face today, it is more important than ever to embrace innovation. Innovation must be taken as a primary and, for what it will be, catalyst work: a source of inspiration from others, a leader of new ideas and a creative energy force.
But that catalyst can be both tangible and intangible. Whether it’s a structure, a leader or a plan that drives people to action, someone or something needs to move the chain.
For innovation to thrive, you need an environment that fosters experimentation and strong visionary collaborations for new ideas. Only a few companies can do this. We need to increase collaboration between companies, the academic environment and public institutions, as well as the third party.
By establishing a culture focused on collaboration, companies can help define and refine their mission. For example, Epson has traditionally based organizational structures to yield greater collaboration within and outside of its business. So, Epson launched X in 2020 – a bold venture to accelerate collaboration and open innovation. The ultimate goal is to combine Epson technology with the knowledge of third parties to solve social problems around the world.
As part of a collaborative consortium, Epson contributed to the development of Pararesin, a new form of bioplastic that uses paramylon, a polysaccharide found in Euglena algae. The consortium plans to divert nearly 200,000 tons of this plastic from marine debris each year by 2030, as a practical alternative to conventional plastics.
A great company is nothing but the debt to carry it. Many companies that drive innovation but don’t really take the bet that these new ideas never implement them in the real world.
For innovation to be successful, it is necessary to organize operations, manufacturing, processes and structures. These involve the right company people and the necessary resources, aided by effective collaboration and the decision of a good consultant regarding the development of the innovation, the selection process and the implementation.
Those who execute accurately with the aforementioned areas in mind will ensure that their company achieves the highest level of performance and the highest probability. While “ideation” is the most recognizable and compelling part of innovation, ideas don’t go anywhere if they aren’t executed.
Innovation rarely happens by chance – there are no tricks, shortcuts or substitutions for the factors that lead you to innovation. Navigating this sea of complexity requires companies to adapt, build the right ecosystem, and take strategic approaches to identify, support, and sustain new futures.