Page 1: Introduction
The business world is a moving target. It has changed rapidly over the last 20 years and is continuing to do so at an accelerating rate. Think of all the new industries which have developed in your lifetime - video and computer games, biotechnology, mobile telephones - all of these new products and services have developed because the technology was there and the consumer wanted it.
This has not always been the case. In the past, slower communications, and local rather than international competition, meant that companies were under less time pressure. Products changed in response to new technological developments or improvements in manufacturing processes.
‘Innovation’ ...the successful exploitation of new ideas.
Modern businessmen and women face many more competitive pressures - and opportunities! The pace of change is faster. In some industries the time taken to develop many products from the laboratory or design board to the shop shelf has been reduced from years to months. In many cases the rate of development is such that the shelf-life of a product is also very short. Just think of the pace at which new computer technology is developing!
Customers in the 1990s want newer but also better quality products. Companies, banks, service providers and manufacturers alike all now exist in a huge global marketplace. Information about the cost and quality of goods and services can be passed instantaneously between customers and alternative suppliers on different continents.
To meet these challenges, businesses and their employees must continuously create new and improved products and processes if they are to win and survive in world markets. This process of successfully exploiting new ideas is called innovation. Innovation is the cornerstone on which organisations, who wish to attain and retain success are built.