Innovation: do or die
The cycle of innovation is a simple concept – it’s executing it that’s the challenge. Your work is never done, but the minute you stop innovating your business drops dead in the water.
When we started Profusion, innovation was about the creation of something new. We had an idea. We visualised why the idea would work in the commercial space. And we fuelled that idea with resources. Along with a lot of hard graft, this created a business. If the idea is right and compelling and you have determination and perseverance, typically it will work out.
But the job doesn’t end there.
Once your business is up and running, you must innovate continuously to survive. For me, there are two equally important ways of doing this:
- Improving your existing products, services and the way you run your business
This includes enhancing, automating or introducing new technologies into your processes, removing ineffective ways of doing things and absorbing new learnings. Innovating for continuous improvement addresses only your existing business and its place within its defined market.
- Inventing something entirely new to address a latent demand or create a new demand
This kind of innovation starts as an idea, typically one that nags away at you until you can’t ignore it any longer. At the time, you might struggle to find any logical reason to act on your idea, but when you look back in retrospect it might be obvious why you did.
These forms of innovation are two sides of the same coin, separating the role of innovation into a standalone department or function is folly. Every single member of your team must be given the scope to do both every day. It must be ingrained in every single person’s mindset, to keep on questioning:
- Why do we do what we do?
- Who else does it and how do we do it better?
- What are the emerging trends? How are demands, expectations and behaviours changing?
- Does the need for what we do still exist?
- Will it be replaced by technical advancement, or has it been replaced already?”.
Innovation helps you stay abreast or ahead of competitors and take advantage of improved technologies. It makes you take risks, to predict and develop ahead of demand.
The size of your business makes no difference to technological advancement – many multinational businesses have disappeared almost overnight because of disruptive technologies.
By focusing only on your existing business, it becomes too easy to disregard ideas that are not relevant to your existing business or add no value to it. But ideas are powerful. Once surfaced they have the potential to create entirely new businesses or be a positive force for good. They can change the world as we know it. But unless you act on an idea, it could just as easily never see the light of day.
Watch this space – launch of Profusion Ventures
Innovation is how Profusion began and it continues to be a central thread in the Profusion story. In 2019 we are turbocharging this by developing Ventures – our own incubator and innovation hub. Through Ventures, we will channel investments from ourselves and others into new opportunities in the data, digital and AI realms through a rigorous and supportive process.
At Profusion, we continually challenge each other to make sure we stay relevant.
We still have the same excitement and energy that created our organisation and fuelled the enormous effort needed to make it successful. The desire to turn fresh concepts into reality has always been our driver.
We recognise also that there are many talented budding entrepreneurs out there with ideas of their own, that are facing the same challenges we did when we started, struggling to turn concept into reality.
With Profusion Ventures, we would like to contribute to the odds of those new ideas becoming successful businesses. We hope that our backing and our positive input will, in turn, attract resources to increase the scale at which it happens and create a virtuous circle.
We also have our own ideas that don’t fit naturally into the existing business and we need a structure to explore them. We’re broadening our playground, moving beyond our existing markets and channelling our energy to be part of the next generation of businesses.
In a year from now, we hope Ventures will have helped several ideas on their way to becoming successful products or services. I hope too that we will have started to make a significant and positive change to some people’s lives.
Come and talk to us if you’re:
- A young entrepreneur who wants to be considered for incubation in our Old Street home
- An investor looking for opportunities in this space
- An incubator who would like us to meet your entrepreneurs