Ideas for Business Innovation

The innovation process begins at the idea stage, where an innovator comes up with a radical new product or technology, applies the required research and development to it, and brings it into the market for commercialization. Often, it takes at least two years before a new idea is able to find traction in the market due to the extensive R&D needed to test and tweak the product and technology. Due to the long period of testing and tweaking that an innovation requires, some innovative products or technologies never make it to the market at all. But what if there was an innovation strategy that could shorten the innovation process and speed up the arrival of new innovations?

One way of accomplishing this is by creating innovation contests. Contests are an excellent way of driving innovation because they create excitement and drive a company’s management team to work hard on improving the product or technology. They also create enough momentum within the organization to make managers put their full effort into making the new product or technology a success. By creating high-level visibility and hype around a new idea or product, management teams will feel the need to rally around the new idea and pursue it as aggressively as possible. In addition to boosting morale and helping fuel sales for the new product or technology, contests can help shorten the innovation process and accelerate the arrival of new innovations in the market.


Although it has been found that most innovative ideas come from combinations of more than one innovation idea, there are some ideas that are more viable when formed from a few specific areas. For instance, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program focuses on concepts originating from small business owners’ ideation and input. By soliciting input from business owners through online surveys and focus groups, the SBIR program focuses on finding commonalities in businesses to apply to business development strategies and operations.

By pooling resources from a number of areas, the SBIR program seeks to reduce the time necessary for new product or technology to get to the market. The innovation Ideas Council on Best Practices helps in this process by encouraging business leaders to voice their opinion on innovative products and technologies. Through its Code of Ethics initiative, the council tracks and monitors the progress of these discussions, and recommends solutions to improve processes and practices.