In view of creating more competitive regions and industry sectors, innovation capabilities of SMEs play a central role. SMEs are strong economic drivers in many countries, and their ability to innovate will determine the health of national and regional economies in the future. A key support for SMEs in their innovation efforts are public innovation support programmes.
Over the past couple of years, the services and solutions offered by innovation vendors have quietly shifted in new and interesting ways, with direct implications for corporate innovation leaders. Given that it is the middle of a long hot summer, I thought that it might be timely to outline some of the changes that I see taking place, and their impact on innovation leaders going forward.
The traditional consulting business model is based on two principle ideas: (1) hiring people (top talent if possible) and (2) charging clients a fee per hour or day for gaining access to this talent, its expertise and/or manpower. Depending on the type of consulting or the brand, the pendulum swings more towards focusing on providing, and buying on the customer side, the more sophisticated expertise or the simpler manpower.
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 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.
Commonly the best way to initiate change is to enable leaders to pave the way forward. Mike Myatt is considered to be among the world’s top CEO coaches and today he tells IM more about his experiences working with real leaders who embrace change and innovation.