5 Reasons Why SME’s Need to Attend Myriad
From internal innovation to innovating like a boss, Brian Ruddle weighs in on the opportunities Myriad can offer SME’s
1. Think Like an Entrepreneur
Founders of SMEs often have an entrepreneurial skillset but over time the organisation’s management can become ‘comfortable’. Larger SMEs also sometimes become more risk- adverse as there’s more to lose if things go wrong. So instead of just an entrepreneurial skill set, it’s more about the mindset — accepting that failure leads to learning and always experimenting to evolve the company in sync with changes happening in the industry, with competitors, macroeconomic influences, and so on.
2. Adapt to Changing Markets
All organisations are affected by their external environments, and to what degree depends on the industry they supply. Some sectors like retail are experiencing enormous disruption, while for others it’s more gradual and smart SMEs are always looking at what’s coming up on the next wave of innovation. Some organisations react well to these changes and adapt whilst others don’t. The key lies with the ability of the senior management team to identify the changes and then ‘change’ the organisation to adapt.
3. Innovate Like a Pro
When an enterprise focusses on the outcomes of innovation, namely differentiation and growth and not just new technology here and there, they can introduce innovation to any aspect of their operations. That said, we see a lot of organisations getting the most value out of business model innovation — how they make money from their products and services, and not so much the new time saving widgets. Establishing clear processes to harness the innovative thinking of staff is often the first best step they can take.
4. Learn to Monetise R&D
R&D is important, but many SMEs don’t classify what they do as R&D — they think of it as simply ‘trying new things’. The government offers attractive tax incentives for businesses of all sizes to formalise their R&D or ‘trying new things’, but a lot of SMEs don’t take advantage of the scheme. There’s also a lot of state and federal funding now for SMEs to partner with research teams through Cooperative Research Centres, the Advance Queensland Knowledge Partnerships and Research Fellowships, just to name a few. For SMEs particularly who don’t have scientific people or facilities onsite, these opportunities are just so valuable. If you don’t research and test the feasibility of an idea and develop its potential, are you really being innovative?
5. Overcome Barriers to Innovation
A key issue is that many organisations focus on the easy stuff — like finding ideas with old fashioned or online suggestion boxes staff, or running hackathons. Successful SMEs focus on the more difficult things like establishing effective innovation strategy and governance arrangements, or identifying idea curation processes to prove that concepts will work and which ones will add the most value. Then there’s the stakeholder engagement activities, and identifying the key outcomes that you want to see if you are to continue investing in the innovation program. Unfortunately, many SMEs waste a lot of time and money finding ideas without a resourced plan for what they’ll do with the best ones when they do emerge.