Sue Cadd: Why innovating is good for your business

This story is over

The only way for businesses in Greater Lincolnshire to reach their true growth potential is to innovate. Innovation is the key that can unlock so much!

That’s why at the Innovation Programme for Greater Lincolnshire, we’re passionate about doing things differently.

To many, innovation has become a buzzword, a word used frequently but one which lacks real substance or meaning.
Innovation means ‘something new or different introduced’ according to the literal definition. But in essence it means thinking outside of the box and doing something different that has the potential to give you an advantage over your competitors.

Innovation comes in different shapes and sizes.

Changing the way you market your business might be innovative to one company, but not to another. There’s no template or formula for being innovative, and there never will be.

When you think about innovation, you might think about creating a new product or service. But innovation doesn’t only come in the form of creating something new. It could be how you manage your team to get the best out of them, how you file your receipts or how you improve your existing services.

Regardless of what it is, innovation is good for your business, your team and your prospects.

Innovation is the number one driver for growth. A happier team can produce better results, a new product can enhance your brand awareness and a new service can open your business to a different market.

The reason why innovation leads to growth is because it’s a way of ensuring continual and strategic improvement within your business. Without it, you face the risk of falling behind market trends or allowing a new entrant to disrupt your market. Standing still is not an option.

It can be difficult to measure how effective innovation is, but that’s because the potential is limitless. Think of some of the biggest household brands – many of them started as one-man bands. But by being innovative and bringing something new to the market, they have grown to become multi-million-pound businesses.

One of Britain’s most innovative businesses is Dyson. Even in a multi-billion-pound industry, Dyson has remained on top for years simply because the company is not afraid to invest its money, time, effort, blood, sweat and tears into innovation.

It’s led them to expanding their product range into new consumer markets as well as continually improving their existing range.

But, success from being innovative doesn’t have to mean you become a household name or turn over millions of pounds. Innovation is not exclusive to big businesses. If you own an ice cream van and you double your turnover in year one from £10,000 to £20,000 after producing a new flavoured ice cream, then that success has come from being innovative.

You might think that the smaller you are, the more hurdles you will have in your way. But being small means you can be flexible and agile in your approach. This is an advantage that you have over big corporate businesses.
Greater Lincolnshire is a great place to do business, but its true growth potential has yet to be tapped. By taking an innovative approach, more and more businesses in our area will be able to unlock their growth prospects. In turn, this will transform our area’s economy for years to come.

Innovation can be scary, daunting and costly. Some of Greater Lincolnshire’s businesses may say it’s risky. Our area’s economy is predominately made up of small and medium-sized companies, many of which would say they don’t have the cash or even the time to invest in being innovative.

That’s where the Innovation Programme for Greater Lincolnshire comes in! Our objective is to help our economy grow purely by encouraging and supporting innovation.

As well as holding events and seminars, we provide five separate strands of support for SMEs in Greater Lincolnshire, including:

Proof of concept grants to help businesses fund innovative projects
Innovation vouchers (these provide access to leading academics at the University of Lincoln)
Professional business support and advice to manage growth
Funding for internships
An innovation and leadership course for business leaders

Delivered by the University of Lincoln and funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the programme aims to help Greater Lincolnshire’s business community overcome many of the barriers to innovation.

Since our inception, we’ve helped dozens of businesses from a variety of industries, all of which have used the programme as a platform for growth.

To find out how the programme has helped many Greater Lincolnshire’s businesses, visit our website.

By Sue Cadd, Innovation Manager at Think Tank