March 22, 2022

Identify innovations

identify innovations

Taking the pulse of a sector in terms of innovation is a recurring aspect of the monitoring activity. Two important biases are to be perceived and avoided from the beginning of your approach:

Bias 1: the question of innovation must be taken in the broadest sense of the term and not only focus on the novelty of products or services. Indeed, if your competitors can add a product line to their offer, they can also innovate by revising a production line, by strengthening their associated services (installation, maintenance, etc.).

Bias 2: You should not only look at your competition's actions in terms of research and development. These only account for a tiny fraction of the innovative changes in your field. There are other actors and sources to consider in terms of innovation (business partners, research centers, etc.).
As a first step, it is always a good idea to look closely at the most recent editions of professional magazines in your field, which often have sections dedicated to new technologies, new products and services, new production and marketing methods, etc. In addition, the December issue (for the year's results) and the January issue (for the year's development perspectives) are also interesting in terms of innovation.

Secondly, conferences in a given field are platforms that should not be neglected when it comes to the dissemination of innovations. Beyond the short presentation easily identifiable online about a new product, a conference given by an executive at a trade show (or any other large event) will give a larger place to commercial expectations related to the new product, its benefits or its functionalities. Also, we must not forget that the pandemic has changed the game at this level. Companies are becoming more and more autonomous in the presentation of their innovations, not necessarily going through trade shows to present their new products but creating their own original events from a dedicated online platform.

Finally, some databases (e.g. European Patent Office) and tools (e.g. Questel) can help to monitor the emergence of innovations, especially internationally.

A final recommendation would be to look in detail at the case studies put online by peer companies in your field. Beyond the products and services offered, it is very interesting to look at the support offered by these companies to their customers, the steps of their approach in terms of problem solving, this is also where the innovation lies.