SME’s and Innovation – What Matters the Most?


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I am looking for insights and cases on what really matters for SME’s in their innovation efforts and approaches. Can you help?

As a discussion starter, I can share my views on the below differences between big and small companies when it comes to innovation in this blog post, Innovation – The 7 Key Differences Between Big and Small Companies

• Speed of decision-making
• Attitude toward risk
• Allocation of resources
• Who understands the business model and who manages it
• Processes or lack thereof
• Following rules versus breaking rules
• Differering definitions of innovation

I also like a report by Intuit in which they identify three main drivers for innovation for SME’s. They are:

• Necessity: No small business can stay alive without constantly changing to meet the shifts in their marketplace. Look back at your product or service or how you operated five years ago or ten years ago and compare that to what you are doing today. You will see that a world of change has occurred in many aspects of your business. So while you may not call what you do innovation, it is still innovation.

• Opportunity: Small businesses know how to strike while the iron is hot when it comes to taking advantage of a new opportunity. With relatively flat organizations, decision making is fast and opportunities are quickly seized upon.

• Ingenuity: Many small businesses are started by people who are frustrated by not being able to find a product or service to meet a need they have. The ingenuity that enables them to fill that need means they have the creativity to support innovation. In addition, while many people can spot a need, it takes a lot of drive and passion to devote yourself to coming up with a new solution to meet that need. This drive and passion are key elements required to be successful at the long, hard slog that innovation often entails.

I have also written the below blog posts in the context of open innovation and smaller companies.

Open innovation winners / losers
Dealing with changes in a fast moving world
A big company perspective on SME in OI context
7 steps for open innovation
Side effects of open innovation
Open innovation SME case study
Another open innovation SME case study

Last, but not least, you can also download a free PDF version of my book “Making Open Innovation Work” which looks at open innovation from the smaller company perspective.

Please share your views, reflections, comments or questions!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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