Harnessing Innovation & Creativity: The Rise of the Smart Product Economy

Smart phones, smart cities and even smart toothbrushes, is this’ smart technology’ trend derived from creativity, ground-breaking innovation, or both? “Creativity” and “innovation” are two words that frequently get pitched in brainstorming sessions or company mission statements. Without a doubt, these principles are highly esteemed in the modern workplace, but do leaders who use the expressions accurately know the difference between them?

The key disparity between creativity and innovation is the focus. Creativity is subjective – it is almost impossible to measure and is about releasing the possibilities of the mind to generate new ideas. Innovation, on the other hand, is completely measurable. Innovation is about implementing adjustments into moderately stable systems to make an idea practical. Thus, an organisation can use innovation to apply its creative assets to propose a suitable solution and acquire a return on its investment.

ipad-820272_640Therefore, to ensure companies remain competitive in a rapidly intensifying and accelerating technological market, businesses need to develop creativity and turn it quickly into innovation. One trend that is harnessing creativity and innovation is ‘smart products’. Consider the “smart” Johnnie Walker bottle, which sends a personalized message to every customer who waves a smartphone in front of it, whether it be a promotional offer or a cocktail recipe. The bottle can be tracked from its point of manufacture to the point of consumption, allowing for incredible customer behavior examination.

From R&D and manufacturing, through distribution and customer behavior, product data is changing how products are researched, built, sold and cared for. Latest research from Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work—a survey of over 200 global product design and innovation executives in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit—underlines stages businesses can take to benefit from the fast-accelerating trend of smart products.

Cognizant suggests making the follow adaptions to pursue a smart product strategy in the 21st century:

  • Engage customers at the start of the journey – customer insight will ensure your features are desirable, which will encourage more interaction and data
  • Develop the mindset to experiment – utilize product data to experiment, research and develop new innovation streams and enrich customer experiences
  • Re-calibrate processes and the business models – as customer insights emerge, models must adapt to the large-scale adoption of smart products
  • Start the process of striking new, innovative partnership approaches – seek to develop new corporate structures to maximize growth

Overall, creativity is vital in today’s business world to stimulate new ideas. However, driving business ultimately derives from sifting creative ideas through an innovation process to initiate those ideas into action.  Thus, stressing the importance of leveraging the data that surrounds people, organisations, products, and processes, to drive R&D and build new revenue streams and new commercial models. Indeed, creativity is the price of admission, but it’s innovation that pays the bills.

Creativity and innovation can create new opportunities for your business and allow for the creation of new products or solutions, via research and development. Contact us today to see if you are eligible to claim the R&D Tax Relief.

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