33 : The Bible of World Innovation

L’innovation joue un rôle-clé tant pour la croissance économique que pour le bien-être. Partant de ce postulat, et prenant en considération les multiples facettes de l’innovation, le Global Innovation Index (GII) établit tous les ans un classement mondial des pays selon leur degré de performance en la matière.

33 : The Bible of World Innovation

If you want to survive: innovate

Hubert Gatignon introduces the topic: "Innovation is the source of growth for both developed and emerging economies. Enterprises must innovate more, going beyond the much-bandied vision of 'incremental innovation'. There can no longer be a solution in carrying out small improvements on a process, a product or a service in order to prolong one's activities, but rather one must implement continuous, long-range innovation policies." Striking a balance between verifiable scientific research and wild generalities issued by innovation gurus, the co-authors give an up-to-date overview on theory and practice, validated through high-level analyses and investigations. The book is the results of four years'' work.

A state-of-the-art overview on research into innovation

"What we wanted to achieve was a synthesis of research to date on the subject, to provide scientists with a clear vision of the paths that still remain to be explored if we want to fully understand the innovation processes, and innovative practitioners with the bases necessary for the establishment of a business strategy", says Hubert Gatignon. Two aspects of the book will be of particular interest to these practitioners, viz., companies engaged in an innovation-intensive policy: the book analyses logically the research carried out in this field. It also provides scales and indicators with which various stages can be assessed, leading to adopting and pursuing a sustainable innovative policy. There are 4 main sections: understanding innovation, the organizational context, the processes needed to create innovation and how to launch an innovation on the market-place.

From technology to marketing, not forgetting management aspects

"Innovation must be seen from a combined technological and marketing point of view. Technology evolves very rapidly to the extent that there are no frontiers now between sectors of activity. We must acquire a global vision of the evolution. On the market-place, we must understand the reactions, the behavioural patterns, the consumer's expectations and those of users", emphasizes Hubert Gatignon. For this, the consumers themselves are increasingly solicited to contribute to the innovation processes. But how can you integrate them in an efficient manner? How are you to rapidly assess novel concepts? The way new products and services gain a part of the market and circulate, today take increasingly complex routes when it comes to identifying them and controlling them, when viral marketing is 'on the road'. "This constitutes a new challenge for the enterprises: how are they supposed to work with the consumers? How do you take into your stride the network communities and the user groups, given the high speed with which they react and interact? The business world must adapt to the new uses and not focus too narrowly on their businesses per se? They must stay open to accept and face competition and a changing market-place." What we now see is a new approach to the way teams are built: who should work with whom and how are they grouped together? Should they integrate external staff on, on the contrary, try to stick with more homogenous internal teams. "There are very few studies that confirm the efficiency obtained by operating in a 'start-up' mode insider a major company structure", explains Hubert Gatignon, who emphasizes, "There simply are no miracle recipes when it comes to modern management."

Life expectancy - 6 months!

New business models are also arising, for instance 'crowd-sourcing' and 'open innovation'. The question is - how are we to collaborate with these new practices. "The logic of open innovation runs counter classic commercial logic. Economic models evolve, even if a lot of novel construction is still needed (apart from a few experimental trials). There are questions that call for solutions, such as intellectual property rights", notes Hubert Gatignon. These new challenges must be faced by both the developed and the emerging economies. "Today, it has become very difficult to protect patents in a long-term vision: benefits no longer accrue from innovation, apart from several sectors protected by the regulators. Companies in developed countries must innovate continuously, failing which the simply will not survive. Emerging countries are doing better because they are also the most innovative, both on their domestic market and in export!" underscores Hubert Gatignon. Various studies have shown that competing companies can react very quickly, often inside 6 months following the launch of a given product or service, sometimes by even adding the very same innovative improvements.

New tracks to explore in terms of public-private partnerships

The book is designed to have a pluridisciplinary approach: answers to various problems are to be found in technologies, in management stances, in partnerships, etc. "Very few publications cover all these points and prospects. Where alliances are concerned, it is important to analyze the case-studies of positive alliances and those that we might qualify as 'dangerous' and 'opportunist'. The theory of transactional costs provides an excellent normative base for discussion. Public-private partnerships are now increasingly common, but have not to date been sufficiently studied". Among the alliances, those with the university institutions and their research scientists are of paramount importance. "In this respect, UTC is a good example! But the connections and relationships between enterprises and academic research establishments have yet not been analyzed sufficiently and relevant theories are rare", concludes Hubert Gatignon.