When one talks about innovation, one invariably ends up using words such as, ‘nurturing’, ‘visionary’, or ‘creative’. These words are intrinsically connected to the idea of growth – that a single idea can engender the flourishing of an entire system of production, marketability and, ultimately, profit.
Also bound up in this idea of growth is also the concept of change. Change is, of course, at the heart of any great innovation.
When one examines the concept of change from within a business model, internationalisation becomes an inevitability. The rise of communication technologies, online consumerism and global exchange has resulted in an overwhelming increase of entrepreneurship that transcends local markets. Innovation, as an underlying component of business development, has had to encompass and make allowances for these trends.
Innovation from Existing Models
It is never more apparent than in the founding and development of small and medium sized companies than innovation plays a key role in the growth and expansion of international business. Oversaturated global markets and the rise of large companies have situated innovation at the heart of any good business model – particularly with regards to smaller companies that desire to be competitive at a global level.
To see how this has been made possible one needs only look at the example of companies such as TNT UK Ltd, which has capitalised upon the internationalisation of business by stepping into the role of facilitator. By innovating from within existing models, accommodation is made for entrepreneurship that both capitalises and expands upon previous success. Opportunism of this kind is necessary when stepping into any kind of oversaturated business market; particularly if this market is already global in nature.
Grass Roots Facilitation
Increased effectiveness of communication technologies has made it easier than ever before for small to medium sized businesses to be able to conduct business on an international level. Knowledge sharing, facilitated by mediums such as the internet and video conferencing software, means that innovation can take place at a ‘grass roots’ level without being confined to a ‘grass roots’ domain.
Scientific or technological advances taking place on one side of the world can be shared with entrepreneurs on the other. In no technology has this been more apparent – in recent times – than in app creation.
Example: App Development
App developers comprise some of the most forward thinking innovators operating both inside and outside of business models. Not only are these individuals creating new digital products but they also tend to be actively involved in marketing and disseminating these products. From software development to multi-national marketing, crowdfunding and digital social engagement. Furthermore, due to the nature of app technology, app developers are required to work on an international level, producing products which are immediately suitable for global consumption. Lone app developers are common, but it’s not unusual to find a number of individuals contributing remotely to a single project.
Business owners might do well to take the app development process as a model for the development of their own international innovation process. By sourcing talent from outside your immediate jurisdiction, one is able to increase the size and quality of your creative pool whilst conserving resources. Furthermore, innovations heralded elsewhere may not be accessible from within your immediate locality – material sourcing, for example, or cost effective parts production. You may also find that examining international business markets offers revelatory insight into market gaps of the sort exploited by both TNT and certain app developers, which are comparable as they both offer facilitator services.
This sort of ‘big picture’ thinking will allow a new business to begin from the point of competitiveness, rather than strive to achieve such a point throughout those first few crucial years.
Thomas Nelson is a business professional with a passion for innovation and the drive for a better future. With limitless enthusiasm for pushing the limits of conventional business, he can usually be found immersed in reading about the latest trends and developments in his sector. He currently works alongside a number of small businesses giving advice and offering insights which he has gained through many years studying Innovation at Newcastle University.