I read a good innovation quote today from 3M. “Research is the transformation of money into knowledge; innovation is the transformation of knowledge into money.”
Of course 3M is a huge company with many resources including research departments. So let’s interpret that quote to identify meaning for much smaller manufacturing companies with far fewer resources yet very much in need of “research and innovation”. And of course also in need of the profitability that comes from having unique products that are meaningful to customers.
At a high level interpretation the quote is saying that investments have to be made to develop knowledge and in turn that knowledge becomes the basis for innovation, which drives profitability. Agree.
At a more tactical level the quote begs two questions…
- Are you “doing research”? Are you purposefully seeking knowledge / insights about your customers’ needs, your industry’s trends, related technologies, competitors, etc. and accumulating that knowledge in a way that turns it into valuable and usable information?
- Are you “doing innovation”? Are you applying that valuable and useful information in a way that turns into purposeful reinventions / adaptations of your products and services?
If you’re answering “yes” to both those questions, you’re probably doing well because, like 3M, you’re reaping the benefits of effective research and innovation. If you’re answering “no” to either one, then the assumption is you could probably do a lot better.
If you’d like to do better at innovation and reap the financial benefits of having more unique and meaningful products, give me a call. We can help you develop those practices. That’s what Innovation Engineering is all about.