Innovation: step by step from start to finish

Where should we start with innovation?

What are the possibilities?

And what is the chance of success?

Questions we often hear from customers. In this blog we answer it.

First we will determine your starting position.

Two starting points for innovation

If you want to innovate as a company, there are two starting positions:

  1. From the technical possibilities (supply-oriented). Developers like us are very happy about that. For us, the sky is the limit. We play with sensors and use the data supplied to arrive at new insights or possibilities. And we always look at whether it can be done even smarter, more energy-efficiently or better.
  2. From the problem of your customer or a demand from the market (demand-oriented). This is followed by research into the best solution, how you can meet the market demand and which techniques are required for this.

Whatever your starting point, it always revolves around your customer’s needs. It is therefore important to know whether your customer is really waiting for your solution. Because he is the one who will pay your added value. And he determines whether your idea is worth his investment.

That is why we also hear the following questions during most innovation processes:

How can we realize our idea and what will it cost?

Technically, almost anything is possible and we will also draw up a plan of approach with costs for you. But do you really know enough? Applying Internet of Things (IoT) or deploying digitization solutions looks simple. But it does affect the business process. Does your customer know the consequences of this? Does he want to do it? And to what extent can he work with this new solution?

Let’s make it concrete with an example

The client (manufacturer of agricultural machines) sees the trend that everything is becoming increasingly automated. What does that mean for his product? And how can he make his product work completely autonomously? A real question, but we also take the context and environment into account when answering. For example, does the client already work with automated systems? And have they already started working with data to optimize their processes? The answer to these questions is at least as interesting as the questions about working methods and costs.

We greatly applaud it if you, as an entrepreneur, have an innovative vision and have the guts to realize that innovation. But sometimes that big step towards an end product (in this case that autonomously operating machine) is not always the wisest. Our advice is to take small steps. This way you get to know the obstacles better and you keep the costs under control. Request input from the users and continuously refine your product based on that. That was also our advice to our client. First start by collecting data regarding the use of the machines. This can be done by installing sensors. This data will then be made visible in a protected portal. Then you can start a conversation with the users. This always yields great insights that you can build on. And the great thing is that this does not require a very large investment.

The way to your goal is not always a straight line

You will always encounter some bumps and insecurities. Or decide half way through to take another exit. And that’s no problem if you take small steps. Then you can fine tune it.

Our tip: make an inventory of the biggest uncertainties and solve them first. And then proceed slowly step by step. You may eventually arrive at your original idea. But it could also just be that your end product no longer resembles your first proposal. For example, because on the basis of advancing insight, an end product was achieved that better meets the market demand or has functionalities that are really needed. And maybe that solution is even cheaper than the first version.

Innovation is learning and doing

When looking for an innovative solution, you constantly run into questions. You look at different options, you research and inventory and you learn from the insights you encounter on your path. And then you do it, because of course it doesn’t stop with thinking.

We are curious about your innovative ideas and what challenges you see in front of you. If you have any questions about your specific situation or if you want to know more about safety electronics or the possibilities of digitization, please contact us.

Dennis Wissink has over 20 years of experience in the technical secondment. He is co-founder of Xelvin (internationally operating in technical secondment). He lead this company for 9 years as CEO. Where he has gained experience with company strategy and startup new concepts, offices and companies. Specialities are strategic development, Design Thinking and business Models.

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Dutch Innovation Days
From May 26 to May 30 there are the Dutch Innovation Days in Enschede. Beeliners will then give a master class. More info here.

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