- Explore ways to understand your customers’ hidden needs but know that this is an imperfect science.
- Be prepared to experiment with new services and products and change them as you learn.
- Expect higher levels of competition.
- Accept that more of your innovation will come from outside the organization.
- Embrace collaboration with other companies but ensure that you know and can defend your competitive position.
In this chapter we have reviewed trends for the future in the four main drivers of innovation: customers, competition, technology and the business environment. We suggest that the need and opportunities for innovation will continue unabated, but the next wave of technology will not further accelerate the rate of change. However, new services and products will be targeted at more subtle needs than before and so it will be more difficult to define products in advance. Organizations will have to be prepared to experiment more in the marketplace and to accept that demand will be more difficult to predict, so supply chains must be more flexible. And all this in a context of better informed customer and more competitors, speaking our language and brought literally and metaphorically to our doorsteps by improved travel and information technology. Innovation management as a professional and academic discipline faces a number of challenges: better ways to understand the hidden needs of customers; faster and more responsive ways to develop products and services; new approaches to open innovation and to innovation in services; greater understanding of innovation at the personal level, and many more. There are exciting times ahead!
- To stimulate discussions about how innovation management will change.
- To identify the ramifications for organizations.
- The hardback edition of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C.K.Prahalad (Pearson Education 2005) includes a DVD of a number of examples of innovation from developing economies including Aravind Eye Hospitals (main case chapter 2) and the Jaipur Foot (mini case 10.5) which we find inspiring in themselves and an excellent stimulus to discussion of the future of innovation. Ask the audience what is distinctive about Aravind and why this innovation originated in India rather than the West.