Ten Innovation Trends of 2010
By Mark E. Atkins
In speaking with strategic innovation and R&D leaders at companies across industries and across the globe, I have been afforded the unique opportunity to hear the challenges – both internal and external – that global companies are facing relative to innovation.
It is based on these interactions that I formulated the following list of the top innovation trends, which I first presented at Invention Machine's inaugural Power to Innovate user conference event back in 2008 and recently revisited in this year's user conference keynote address - The New Innovation Economy:
- 2010 will kick off the Innovation Decade.
The Innovation Olympics have begun on a global basis – companies as well as countries are vying for supremacy in this innovation race in the decade of 2010. This is a critical decade and the strategies and actions in place in this decade are going to impact us for the next forty years taking us to 2050.
- The emergence of BIC (Brazil, India, China) in the Global Innovation Economy.
The innovation landscape is changing. The emergence of companies in these countries – as well as these countries themselves – means companies need to take fast action to analyze and define growth plans for emerging markets to be served now and in the future.
- IP monetization vs. IP quantification.
Amassing patents for patents' sake is not a meaningful measure of success. Instead, companies are looking at the value their IP delivers? Are we generating revenue? Are we opening new markets? What are our returns on our IP?
- Product obsolescence of 50-70% will occur by 2012.
Companies are faced with products – in many cases entire product portfolios - in maturing markets that need to be repurposed into new markets or replaced with new products representing new revenue streams.
- The impact of the Baby Boomers exodus.
In the US, with a huge percentage of today’s workforce will becoming eligible for retirement, companies are facing an unprecedented demographic challenge: the largest generational turnover we have ever experienced. Companies must act quickly to preserve and leverage corporate expertise that would otherwise be lost through attrition, retirement or outsourcing.
- Time to market – in half the time.
Companies must significantly cut the time it takes to get product to a commercialized state. Speeding time to market will be key to winning in the new innovation economy.
- Develop & connect – global collaboration.
Building a strong culture of collaboration is vital to fostering productive innovation. Companies must foster collaboration amongst employees by providing them with a practical collaboration framework which allows them to connect without the need to leave the context of their innovation work.
- Product differentiation vs. commoditization.
New and differentiated products will be the primary source of revenue growth in the new innovation economy.
- Radical engineering vs. incremental engineering.
Incremental improvements to existing products to improve performance or reduce costs continues to be a must. But to drive new revenue streams and compete in the new innovation economy, companies must look to radical engineering to bring about better performing and more competitively differentiated products.
- The evolution of the Innovation Intelligence Ecosystem.
There is a real need for knowledge enablement for innovation. Companies need to design an Innovation Intelligence Ecosystem – a framework for delivering precise and critical information from a variety of sources that lead to increased productivity and accelerated innovation.
What innovation trends are you seeing and what do you see changing in 2011?