What is innovation and why do we talk about it?
From its literal meaning, RAE defines innovation as the creation or modification of a product, and its introduction in a market.
It can also be defined as the activity by which results derived from research and development (knowledge, prototypes) are launched into the market in the form of new products, services or are transformed into new processes in the company (R+D+i).
Over the years there have been many innovative milestones, each of which has made the world more connected. There have always been those non-conformist people who imagine everything in a better way.
How an innovation process is executed
Innovations are challenges, characterized by uncertainty, risk and complexity.
There is no unique path to reach an innovation process, but each process represents a successive development of stages that are gradually fulfilled.
Below is an explanation of one type of process that can lead to innovation:
- Identify opportunities and generate ideas: This action leads to discovering, for example, an unsatisfied market need, a problem with a customer or a new technical solution. The possibilities are as wide as its search.
- Ideas evaluation: At the moment of discovering these opportunities, the following is based on prioritizing according to variables that best suit the person or company. Examples: strategies, risks and viability, market and customer needs, market potential, conditions such as laws, standards, patents, among others.
- Ideas prioritization: The requirements to implement the different ideas are analyzed and defined, and the viability and the necessary timeframe are evaluated. Some aspects to take into account are: possible bottlenecks, people, capacities and necessary collaborations, authorizations, legal licenses or necessary permits, etc.
- Project definition: This is the phase of shaping the activities that will make it possible to execute the selected ideas, establishing concrete work plans and allocating the necessary resources.
- Execution: Here it is important that everyone involved understands what is to be achieved, as well as their role. In addition, it is important to review the progress of each activity to ensure that the plan is being respected; in the case of innovation projects, it may be necessary to make changes along the way.
- Follow-up: Once the project has been completed, it is important to verify whether there have been any deviations from the initial plan and to analyze the causes. Subsequently, it will be necessary to monitor the results.
When speaking specifically of the requirements of an R+D+I project, the UNE166001 standard states (Spain) the project must contemplate at least the following aspects:
- Designation of a project manager, establishing his or her functions.
- Project objectives
- Innovation and degree of novelty of the project
- Risk management
- Budget and resources
- Exploitation of results
- Documentation control
- Change control
Innovation in logistics
As time goes by, advances in each sector interfere in the operation of different processes at all levels. Logistics, like any other sector, has been adapting to the economic, social and technological changes that are transforming our daily routines.
There are two clear situations, although there are countless others, that determine how we react in this specific sector. The first is that there are always new ways to make the supply chain more efficient and effective, and there has always been a focus on innovation in logistics because of the large-scale impact it has on all companies.
Innovation at Navlandis
Proactivity and the identification of potentially disruptive changes at an «early stage», have made the team that conforms Navlandis, professionals ready to find innovative solutions when the client has a complex need that cannot be solved in the usual way.
Zbox is a clear example of an entrepreneurial initiative that has been advancing step by step along the real path of R+D+i. An innovative idea, plus a practical development, plus a significant amount of research.
This first finished product is a solution to a global problem. This solution was born from a simple idea that entailed a huge challenge for its implementation. Today Zbox is a reality and soon we will know its history put to test.
Ending for now…
One aspect that every non-conformist knows is important is that any innovation idea, process or action requires sustainability over time. It is not profitable to dedicate time, effort and money to something when that «new solution» is not going to be sustainable in the long term.
The best innovations not only make operations more efficient, but will also make a whole chain of people involved feel more benefited.
And although innovating is considered costly because of everything necessary for its realization, they say that the cost of doing innovation will always be lower than the cost of not doing it, innovation never comes to an end.