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Choosing an Innovation Strategy for Your Startup

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Innovation is the process of applying new agile techniques and ideas within your startup. From product and service innovation, marketing innovation to business model innovation, the process is more complicated than you think. At Allied Legal, we have simplified the process for you below: 

Developing an Innovation Strategy

Before developing an innovation strategy for your startup, you should consider your innovation goals. This will require you to extend beyond generalities, such as “our startup is innovative” and demonstrate a clear understanding of your business objectives. For example, are you looking to streamline a process or increase your startup’s brand recognition in the market? If so, how will you achieve this through your innovation strategy?  Once you have determined your startup’s goals and objectives you can start to look at which innovation strategy will work best for your desired outcome.

According to the Harvard Business Review, good innovation strategies promote alignment among diverse groups within an organisation, clarify objectives and priorities, and help focus efforts around them. Thus, for your startup’s innovation strategies to be effective, you will need to integrate performance metrics and targets to ensure that the time and resources you are expending is paying off. This means having the right processes, procedures, and team in place to drive innovation. Strong communication is also essential, from a founder or management level to each arm of your team.

Types of Innovation Strategies

According to The Innovation Landscape Map, four key quadrants of innovation are suggested to help startups identify whether your startup should look at a change in technology or a change in business model. These key innovation strategies include radical, architectural, routine, and disruptive innovation.

Radical Innovation

Startups implementing radical innovation are research and technology orientated. Founders using radical innovation strategies tend to lean toward technological innovation, leveraging radical and incremental innovation techniques. Pharmaceutical companies tend to utilise radical innovation methods.

Architectural Innovation

Architectural innovation combines technological and business model disruptions. For founders, this will mean keeping up to date with the latest agile changes in the market. Companies like Kodak and Polaroid have employed architectural innovation in the past.

Routine Innovation

Routine innovation builds on a company’s existing technologies and business model. Startups and businesses employing this method respond quickly once new innovations are tried and tested. These startups tend to use incremental innovation to exploit their competitiveness within the existing market. Examples include Microsoft Windows and the Apple iPhone.

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation requires a new model for your startup. In response, other startups and ventures are ‘disrupted’ or challenged by your ventures radical restructure, thus shifting the landscape and adding to your startup’s competitive advantage.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, there is no clear ‘formula’ to innovation and the reality is that you will need to spend some time researching and experimenting to discover what works best for your startup. The level of innovation your startup will be able to achieve will also be contingent on the size and scale of your venture, your resources, funding, and the availability of technological opportunities. The main thing to consider is that there is no rigid pathway or strategy that your startup must adhere to. Think strategically about your innovation options and which option, or mix of options, is worth exploring.

Need Help? Contact Us

At Allied Legal, we offer practical and innovative business and legal advice to startups. If you need help restructuring your startup’s business plan, innovation strategy, or if you would like to connect with one of our commercial lawyers about a legal matter, you can call us on 03 8691 3111, or send us an email at hello@alliedlegal.com.au.  

Adapted from: https://hbr.org/2015/06/you-need-an-innovation-strategy

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