The 21st century is a period of growth and movement, which means that innovation is more important now than ever before.
Specifically, innovation is more important for businesses now than ever before - and this applies to companies of all sizes, and across all sectors. Without innovation, it would be impossible for businesses to remain competitive and to continue appealing to their target demographic.
At Leading Edge Only, we more than understand the answers to the question “Why is innovation important to businesses?” because it is our main area of focus, experience and expertise. We have spent years successfully supporting and connecting businesses with challenges to innovative solutions. This means that we couldn’t be more qualified to advise and inform, and explain to you the different ways that innovation has become important to businesses in 2021.
Why Is Innovation Important?
It’s difficult to identify one specific reason why innovation is important, because it is employed in so many different ways and by so many different people. It’s best understood by clearly defining what innovation actually is: the practice of improving, replacing or creating something to add value. When put in this way, understanding why innovation is important becomes a lot easier; it’s what allows individuals, businesses and society as a whole to progress and change.
It can therefore be approached on two scales: a small scale, in which it influences our everyday life, and a large scale, in which innovation is what defines us as a society and what enables us to live.
The Micro Perspective
The micro perspective specifically refers to the outcome of innovation for businesses and their employees. In other words, it is any advantages or disadvantages that directly impact or affect these two parties.
Different factors that may be influenced include:
- Business Performance
- Business Revenue
- Employee Wages
- Employee Progression
- Employee Training
As innovation is the introduction of something new or different, it can impact almost every aspect of the working environment - but whether this impact is positive or negative depends on the success of the innovation. The first step towards incorporating this kind of innovation is by developing your strategy - for some insight, take a look at our infographic, “How To Develop Your Innovation Strategy: From Idea To Investment".
The Macro Perspective
The macro perspective is all about the role of innovation in society. It’s a role that cannot be traced, or tied to one specific act or invention, because without continuous innovation we would not be the society that we are today.
Some of our favourite examples of the relationship between innovation and society are:
- The Wheel
- The Printing Press
- Artificial Intelligence
- Electric cars
These are innovations because, at the time of invention, they were brand new and, most importantly, they changed the way that we operate. For example, without the printing press we wouldn’t have mass-market books, a way to easily share information or a way to demand change. All in all, we would be significantly less developed.
Why Is Innovation Important In 2021?
The micro and macro perspectives of innovation are testament to the importance of innovation both in the past and present. What is slightly less clear is how important innovation is for the future. Our three main reasons why innovation is important in 2021 and beyond are: economic growth, the creation of growth and the implementation of best practices.
- Economic Growth: New or improved goods and services are great for the economy, because they are hugely attractive to the consumer market. Innovative products are more likely to peak interest, resulting in high demand. As a result, there is an increase in labour, productivity and capital. This all leads to economic growth, as more money is being filtered into the economy.
- Jobs: A direct consequence of economic growth is increased labour, which prompts the creation of more jobs. This is important for businesses, because it is an indication of growth and success, but it is also important for people and quality of life. This is because there are more jobs available, which means that more people have an opportunity to access regular wages and job security - resulting in even more economic growth, because these people then have the disposable income needed to purchase the goods and services they are making.
- Best Practices: One of the biggest benefits of innovation for the future is that it offers us the opportunity to create what we want to see. This means that it is an opportunity to design, create and implement products and processes which are environmentally friendly or inclusive or ethical, because these are the kinds of qualities that we both want and need to take forward.
New Ways Innovation Has Become Important To Businesses In 2021
Now that we have answered the question “why is innovation important”, we would be remiss if we didn’t explain how innovation is important to businesses: what can innovation actually do to benefit your business?
Gain A Competitive Advantage
Innovation can help you to gain a competitive advantage. Creating something that is addressing a gap or weakness in the market will allow you to create an in-demand product that performs incredibly well. Doing so quickly and of a high standard will ultimately propel you ahead of your competitors, because you are doing something that they are not - and that something is garnering a lot of attention and interest.
It becomes even easier to gain an advantage over the competition if your competitors aren’t currently investing in innovation. This means that maintaining an awareness of the market, the actions of your competitors and the demands of the consumer are all essential to innovating well and taking your business to new heights.
Discover New Opportunities
As a business, you will have access to more opportunities once you begin to innovate. This is twofold: you will actively secure more opportunities yourself, as you will need technology and connections to make your ideas a reality, and you will be actively approached with more opportunities by others, because your reputation for possibility and invention will precede you. In both cases, having access to new opportunities is an indication of wider success because it means that you belong in different spaces, and more of them. It also offers further opportunities for innovation in different sectors, and the ability to explore your demand in different settings.
Break In To New Markets
A new opportunity doesn’t necessarily mean breaking into a new market - but it is one of the most effective means of innovating. When a business has a product or service that can be utilised by multiple demographics, or in multiple settings, it becomes a cost-effective means of accelerating growth.
One of the most famous examples of this is Tesla, which used its technology and connections to launch an electric car into space. The Tesla Roadster remains in orbit, over 2 years later.
Another great example of this, which also demonstrates the power of the LEO platform, are leading universities which use innovation. We have partnered with universities all over the world, and they are much more than education centres. With access to advanced technology and pioneering young minds, they are well-positioned to do great things.
Do What Hasn’t Been Done Before
Innovation is your opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done before. As a business, this is how you can develop a brand and Unique Selling Point that stands out, and stands the test of time. Some great examples of businesses that are using innovation to do something new, are:
These businesses are household names, because they use innovation to tap into a wildly successful niche. Oatly is a Swedish startup that has built a veritable empire out of a dairy alternative, while Peloton has a cult-like following due to their cutting-edge use of broadcast technology. All four businesses are thriving in 2021, with no sign of slowing down, and this is due to their innovative practices - from the products and services they offer, all the way through to their marketing strategies and working days.
Pursuing Business Innovation With Leading Edge Only
If you’re ready to welcome innovation with open arms, the best thing that you can do is register to become an alliance partner (if you’re a business) or network member (if you’re an academic, professional or subject specialist) here at Leading Edge Only. This will allow you to benefit from an entire community, joining like-minded individuals from across the globe and working alongside some of the brightest minds of the century.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about innovation or the LEO platform. A member of our friendly, client-first team will be happy to advise and support in any way they can. Contact us today by completing an online form - we look forward to hearing from you.