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In order to remain competitive in the long run, companies have to be more innovative.
That was the message put out by Dr Benjamin Reid, principal researcher for international innovation at Nesta. He was speaking at a press conference on the Innovating Malaysia Conference 2014, which will highlight the upcoming National Corporate Innovation Index.
“Measures like cutting costs and jobs will work to keep companies afloat for the short term. Innovation is the only sustainable competitive advantage that companies have and company executives who understand that are able to create value for their businesses and stakeholders, ” Dr Reid said.
Companies that have managed to move away from a traditional focus on research and development may not fare as well as those developing “new products, services, markets, business models and ways of working”.
“It’s that broad understanding of what innovation is that is helping drive companies to create a culture of innovation and ultimately, be more successful,”Dr Reid said, adding it comes down to how effectively innovation is promoted within the organisation.
He said the first way companies can drive innovation is to gain buy in from the top, making sure everyone within the organisation understands the importance of innovation and how they can play a part.
Companies also need the right processes in place to manage innovation, with Dr Reid adding: “It’s crucial for companies to have measurements to show how their innovations are working so they can prioritise on the areas in which they should invest and understand the kinds of returns they will get.
Once companies have data on their innovation efforts, it will result in higher levels of confidence among investors “who view such companies as being more sustainable and have the potential to drive greater profitability in the long run”, Dr Reid said.