Technology Innovation – what works and doesn’t work

There is nothing more natural in business than a desire to get one’s hands on better technology. To bring in technology innovation is largely what Research and Development departments exist for. The Wall Street Journal has commented on this topic. Manufacturing industries benefit from investing in tools that deliver better precision or greater strength. Equally, companies that actually produce successful technology innovative cannot afford to be anything less than cutting-edge.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are under particular pressure to keep abreast of relevant technology innovation and then to hunt down the affordable versions. Before deciding on giving the green light to a technology innovation project in your company, certain factors merit careful scrutiny. Question to ask include:

  • Will the proposed technology innovation bring about tangible improvements to existing products and processes?
  • Can measurable added value be assured?
  • Will the new technology innovation produce a better business model for the company?
  • Is there a direct effect in terms of increase in revenue?

Creating technology innovation for its own sake is a recipe for failure, however. While there are some benefits (once costs like re-training of staff or re-configuring of premises are taken into account), the overall outcome is likely to be an empty advance. The Economist reports on this topic in an article entitled Looking for the Next Infosys.

Conversely, when products incorporating technology innovation are launched in conjunction with an improved business model, a far more fruitful outcome is achieved. This was the case when Apple made great strides in digital music listening by marrying its market-leading product the iPod with the iTunes store. Customers needed little persuasion when presented with a chance to revolutionise their own listening experience.

Similarly, companies that put price performance at the heart of their technology innovation can win over consumers, as was the case with Amazon’s Kindle.

In other words, when technology innovation is combined with offerings that get customers foaming at the mouth, it can take a company forward spectacularly.


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