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SMEs have sustainability on their radar. Their main goal is economic sustainability. To achieve this goal, they can take ecological and social sustainability as an opportunity for innovation instead of just considering it as a mere cost driver. Thus innovation and sustainability become the two sides of the coin called profitable growth.
The recent economic crisis has confronted companies across Europe with major challenges. Small and medium sized companies in particular seemed to have a customer base too reduced to maintain their business. In such a situation there are two options: invest in developing new customers or invest in developing new, more attractive, offerings.
Innovation is always a result of taking risk and mastering these risks successfully. However, in the past few years the risks resulting from the overall economic situation seems to have increased for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). As they cannot control these external risks many of them seem to stay away from too risky innovation projects. This has implications for the SMEs and for those who provide innovation support for SMEs?
Apr 05, 2013 | In: Support for SMEs
Owners and managers of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) are reluctant to hire consultants and even more so when it comes to innovation management consulting. And they often have good reasons to do so. They don’t see an appropriate value for the money and time they invest on innovation management consulting – especially since the quality and range of such services varies dramatically.
Companies sometimes behave like the ostrich with their head in the ground while others emerge from the crisis like a phoenix. Not knowing with which new products or services your company really earns money is a bit like the ostrich. However there are effective means to gain transparency on innovation spending without too much effort. These tools also allow a comparison with your competitors to understand what they are doing differently in their approach to successfully managing their innovation activities. Finally, they help companies which currently struggle with the economic situation to become more effective and efficient in their innovation management.
Feb 25, 2013 | In: Support for SMEs
SMEs are perceived as the back-bone of most economies in Europe. Therefore, a lot of programs have been launched to support their growth. Over the past years, offering innovation support has become popular, complementing the well-known start-up financing and technology transfer programs. Despite the above, there is a level of dissatisfaction regarding the impact of these services.
Companies become increasingly restrictive in their consulting spending, especially during times of economic crisis, where the return on the investments on consulting services is questioned and carefully considered. Consulting in the area of innovation management is even more under pressure as it is usually much lower on the CEOs’ agenda than e.g. restructuring or general cost-cutting. Therefore, innovation management consultants face the challenge to develop their client base, be effective by providing the right recommendations and be efficient by developing these recommendations in as short a period of time as possible. Mastering such a challenge seems like searching for Columbus’ Egg in innovation management consulting.
Jan 28, 2013 | In: Support for SMEs
There is discussion about how much effort should be put into developing an innovation strategy especially by small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). Aren’t many successful innovative offerings just a result of trial, error and finally good luck? Insights in more than 1,500 SMEs from the IMP³rove database demonstrate that strategic focus helps secure profitable growth by innovation.
Dec 19, 2012 | In: Support for SMEs
Innovation is frequently marketed as driver of growth and prerequisite for remaining competitive. However, the process is often risky, especially for small or medium sized enterprises in search of ways to successfully manage their new products, services or businesses in a systemic and stable manner. Luckily, tools such as the “A.T. Kearney House of Innovation” are available to lend an essential helping hand.