Written by Pedro Kirk, Project Specialist at PackIOT
Most companies are seeking innovation and new ways to present their products and services. That is an undeniable fact. However, there are huge misconceptions around innovation, like what is it, how to achieve it and finally the biggest and the worst of all: “it doesn’t suit my company”. The definition of innovation might be confusing and abstract, probably if you ask 10 different people about it, you will hear 10 different answers.
This article does not intend to define it, that is a subject for another post. The idea that matters and is important to keep in mind is: innovation is a continuous process, a way to rethink standards and allow changes to happen.
Innovative vs. Inventive
To be innovative does not (always) mean to be inventive! Disruptive concepts and products are the highest level of this process, it does take a while to achieve it. Until then, there is still a lot of value in the journey.
Car sharing services, like Uber, or Tesla’s electrical vehicles, among several other examples, have been changing our lives and are considered references to innovation. But does that mean they are disruptive inventions? Not actually, according to specialists. The explanation is that before Uber there were already customers using taxis, Tesla is still a car manufacturer So basically, they are innovations among an existing segment.
The innovation mindset helps companies to keep evolving daily, having more ability and capability to adapt themselves, transforming ongoings into opportunities. What is not often realized is that it is also true for challengings and unplanned situations, which is approached at the 2020 BCG Global Innovation Survey. The research has shown that companies that take downturns as opportunities to invest in innovation and reposition themselves, usually outperform over the long term.
In contradiction to this fact, the report reveals that innovation is on the top-three target of two-thirds of companies – the lowest level since 2009 and 2010 – probably due the uncertain economics scenario (the research was made before the outbreak of COVID-19, which may have decreased this rate even more).
Another important subject approached on the survey is how companies that consider innovation a top priority are placing their bets. Differently than the majority of competitors that try to address multiple changes and adopt new concepts at the same time, these companies only focus on few of them, being able to implement it much faster and more efficiently. The image below shows where the different industries are investing and the segments they are aiming to improve.
This study sees IoT as a great opportunity for more traditional industries, such as manufacturing, to create new products and services, amplifying the range of actuation. In the case of small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs), the main benefits of IoT technologies are regarding efficiency, the return of investment (ROI) and competitive advantage, which enables them to gain precise intelligence about their own companies and processes, building a path to improvement.
IoT as an opportunity
A recent study made by Claris International Inc., named “The IoT Opportunity for SMBs”, has shown how these companies are investing in IoT and their main concerns and goals.
For those who have already adopted an IoT solution, the benefits include improving efficiency (52%), productivity (51%) and speed (45%). It has also shown an increasing number of IoT projects in the last 2 years. Among those who had adopted, 24% already have ROI and 38% expect it for the next year.
The biggest challenge cited by executives for not adopting an IoT solution is the lack of development expertise. However, 30% of these executives expect to launch IoT initiatives within the next three years. Much of the absence is due to the perception that this kind of progress is only for big companies. Again, it’s a huge misconception. IoT is an innovative solution, but more than that, companies have to keep on improving and be ahead -or at least at the same level- of the competition. It is also justified by the increasing demand for remote work and management, sustainability causes (more eco-friendly processes) and customized products.