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Managing Innovation

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Introduction

Innovation refers to the process of creation of a new product, service, process, technology or addition of value to existing goods and procedures to serve the needs and demands of consumers. It is essential for business enterprises to indulge in innovative practices on a regular basis so as to  receive assistance and recognition from customers, government as well as professional bodies (Helper and Henderson, 2014). By bringing in innovations in the form of products or services at frequent intervals, companies strive to build trust and loyalty among customers and retain them for a long duration of time. This report is based upon made.com which is a retail brand dealing in furniture and housewares online as well as across a wide network of experiential showrooms located within Europe.

This enterprise is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It will gain an insight into two innovation theories and its implication in context of the organisation. Also, the historical as well as future development of goods and services is discussed.

Innovation Theories

Innovation is one of the most crucial concerns of every company and its role within the marketplace is alienable. This ascertains the extent to which an organisation indulges in creation of a new product or addition of value to existing procedures. Innovation can be brought about in terms of product or service development, ways of carrying out work, methods of management of tasks etc. (Noble, 2017). This is an element which strives to provide a strategic edge to an organisation within the market. Innovation drives the attention of customers towards the range of new and unique offerings of enterprise and works towards the growth of business in long run.

Besides this, innovation tends to provide satisfaction to customers by way of providing such products and services which can fulfil the needs, demands and requirements of consumers in the marketplace.

The need for entity to bring innovative processes and techniques is determined by Research & Development (R&D) department within the enterprise which keeps on conducting study in relation to the latest trends and techniques prevailing within industry (Grandori, 2012). The company then undertakes steps to execute such advanced technologies and procedures across the premises to gain recognition in market and retain customers for long duration of time. In this regards,  various types of innovation theories can be used and implemented by enterprise, some of which are specified below:-

Diffusion Of Innovation (DOI) Theory

This is a theory proposed by E.M. Rogers in the year 1962 and exist as one the most ancient social science theories. It is generally used in the process of communication and explores the ways in which an innovative idea or  process is communicated by way of utilisation of various channels. There can be a number of ways through which data can be transmitted, ranging from interpersonal communication to mass media. Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory assists in determining those aspects which affect the rate at which innovation is adopted by an individual (Goolsbee and Krueger, 2015).

It explores the manner in which an innovation first gains momentum and then diffuses across a specified population. The end outcome of such diffusion is adoption of innovative idea or process. The most crucial aspect of such adoption is that personnel must be able to perceive the new or modified idea, goods or technology.

As per this theory, adoption of innovative idea, technique, product or service does not take place instantly, instead this is a process which requires the element of time. Here, some individuals adopt the innovation while others adopt it later. It is generally observed that individuals who adopt innovation at an early possess different behavioural characteristics than those who adopt it a slower pace. While promoting an innovative practice or process among a target audience, it is imperative that focus is laid upon the behavioural characteristics of individual within such population so as to identify the probable chances of adoption of innovation (Dodgson, 2018). According to the philosophy of this theory, there exist five adopter categories and although majority of the individuals belong to middle categories, yet it is essential to gain an insight into the traits of target audience. Different strategies are utilised by business organisations while appealing to various adopter categories.

As per this theory, adopters are defined as “individuals, groups, business entities or larger population prevailing amidst the social system categorised as per their ability to adopt innovation.” The five adopter categories which are included in Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory are described below:-

Innovators: 

These are the individuals which are keen to adopt an innovation and possess an enthusiastic approach towards any new product, process, technology or service. They possess high level of risk tolerance and are willing to adopt an innovation irrespective of the probable chances of its failure.

Early adopters:

 These individuals are much more discreet when it comes to their adoption choices in comparison with innovators. Early adopters represent opinion leaders and embrace the change opportunities in order to adopt such potential products which may assist in providing a strategic edge to them or the organisation in marketplace. They are highly aware of the need to adopt change and thus, appreciate new and innovative ideas or processes. Strategies by which an entity can appeal to this include 'how-to' manuals as well as information sheets which contain data related to formulation (Key Innovation Management Models and Theories, 2019).

Early majority: 

This group includes those individuals which adopt innovative ideas or processes in a significantly long course of time when compared to innovators or early adopters. They constitute majority of the marketplace. Such personnel require an evidence in relation to success of innovation before adoption of any innovative idea or procedure. Strategies that can assist in influencing people belonging to this group include evidence of effectiveness of innovation, success stories etc. (Greer and Hauptmeier, 2012).

Late majority: 

The personnel belonging to this category are immensely cautious and skeptical of adopting innovation. They generally adopt innovative practice or process only after seeing a proof of its favourable outcomes or ensuring that it has been adopted by majority of people. Strategies that can be utilised for targetting this population can comprise of provision of data related to the number of persons who have previously tried and adopted the innovation feasibly.

Laggards: 

The people belonging to this category are last to adopt the innovative practice or process as they are largely bound by conservative and traditional thinking and ideology. They are immensely skeptical and are the hardest to be convinced for adopting the innovation. Strategies that can be formulated to appeal to this category can comprise of fear appeals, statistics and pressure arising from personnel who are a part of other adopter categories.

 

(Source: Diffusion of Innovation Theory, 2019)

The stages through which an individual carries out adoption of an innovation comprises of creating awareness for bringing up innovative idea or practice, deciding to adopt the innovation, initial use of the idea to test its feasibility and continuous utilisation of innovation (Diffusion of Innovation Theory, 2018). It is generally noted that there are primarily five factors which affect an individual while they adopt an innovation. Each of the below mentioned elements play a major role in influencing the adopter categories. Such factors that affect the adoption rate of innovation within marketplace are briefly described below:-

Relative Advantage

: This defines the extent to which an innovation is observed to be better than the product, services, idea or technique that it strives to replace.

Compatibility:

This refers to the extent to which an innovation is consistent with the requirements, needs, values and desirability of potential adopters.

Complexity:

This implies the extent to which the innovation is difficult to be perceived or put to force by an individual. Also, it determines the probability of requirement of more skills and competence to make use of innovative idea or practice (Jurkovic and et. al., 2015).

Trialability:

 This implies the extent to which the innovative product, service, technology or process can be experimented or tested by individuals before making a purchase.

Observability:

This explores the extent to which the innovative idea or process provides such benefits which are visible to others (tangible).

Disruptive Innovation Theory

This theory was proposed by Clayton Christensen during the year 1997 within the book “The Innovator's Dilemma”. It is regarded as one of the most important innovation theories. As per the ideology of Christensen, these are such innovations which leads to creation of a new market as well as value networks. This ultimately results in disruption of existing markets and value networks consequently displacing the technology prevailing in the marketplace earlier. Disruptive innovations enhance the goods and services in a manner that is not expected out of any company within the market (El-Refaie, 2013).

In the book, Christensen explained the theory of disruptive innovation in detail. The main emphasis was on technological innovations and the way in which advanced technologies overtook superior technology existing in the market. As per Christensen, disruptive innovations lead to creation of values different from mainstream technologies and are regarded superior due to performance dimensions which are of utmost importance to customers. Such innovations are generally not accepted by traditional consumers. They may seem to be cheaper than mainstream goods, yet they are valued by certain segments of audience. Thus, theory of disruptive innovation can prove to be an optimum strategy for any company which strives to achieve business growth in near future.

Disruptive innovation takes place within any company in the way of a process. In the early stages of product or process development, goods developed using disruptive technology tend to serve only a niche market which values their non-standard performance attributes. As per this theory, market disruption occurs only when new yet inferior products developed as a result of disruptive technology displace the mainstream goods irrespective of their superior performance.Get the here best assignment help services.

Innovation history of company

Made.com, launched in 2010, is an online retailer which deals in furniture as well as other homewares. This enterprise distributes and sells high-end furniture procured through independent designers and sell it for upto 70% less than other rivals of company. Over years, the main strategy of this entity has been cutting down costs by way of shipping articles directly procured from manufacturer to consumers and selling them online. The items are manufactured within the premises of organisation only in case when enough orders pile up with the firm that eliminates the requirement for warehouse space. This company has an excellent innovations history which assists in building trust and loyalty amongst customers so as to retain them for a long duration of time in future. The stores of enterprise makes effective use of NFC technology which is provided by CloudTags.

Every article which is on display as well as the 600 drawers within the outlets possess NFC chip which contain postcards of products for consumers to purchase and take away (Acharya, Schaefer and Zhang, 2015). Made.com is an exceptional example of high-tech use of innovation and advancements persisting within the industry to gain a strategic edge in marketplace.

Historical Development of Products and Services

As pointed before, Made.com has been constantly focussing upon adopting such strategies and innovations that can render them a competitive edge over rivals. Company at present offer one of the best shopping experience to customers across the globe. The technology that is being used within the showroom over years adds value to the retailer as well as customers.  This organisation has linked the offline and online shopping experience by making use of technology in a meaningful and suitable manner. Made.com offers ease of shopping to customers by way of their NFC technology. Herein, people can easily gain extra information about the features and other details of products by pointing one of the digital tablets of showroom in front of an appropriately marked NFC tag (Pound, 2013). Customers can save those articles in the wishlist that they like and are probable to buy in near future. They can then email these items so as to ponder in depth about the chance of buying the product. Made.com has been tapping the advantage of this easy to use technology offering practical benefits by attracting around three quarter of customers in market.

Also, this technology offers personalised recommendations to customers by way of tablets during the course of their browsing. This has been made possible within the stores by beacons dotted throughout the outlets of enterprise which communicate to the company about those sections of store in which the people are spending their maximum time. Besides this, NFC technology provides data regarding the number of times an individual saved as well as scanned yet did not make the purchase. This type of information assists enterprise in collecting personalised recommendations from a large number of customers on a regular basis in context of online as well as in-store experience. Further, this hi-tech mechanism being used by company renders the brand knowledge about their most valuable customers as well as most frequent visitors.

Thus, the CloudTags tablets of Made.com have been providing a large database of audience in relation to products being rendered by company in marketplace. NFC tag technology also helps the entity in recognising the best performing employees as they also wear NFC tag that they scan while assisting any customer.

Future Development of Products and Services

With inflexion of time, Made.com has been bringing continuous innovations in terms of products, processes and features. Continuing with this ritual of enterprise, company is capable of bringing up robotic furniture in future which will ease the experience of customers living in apartments. This unique as well as creative robotic furniture system of enterprise will allow apartment dwellers to adjust their space as per their convenience. This will let users transform their space for various activities such as sleeping, working, entertainment all with just the push of one button.

This feature will transform the face of furniture retail industry by providing a system which eases the experience driven by customers along with tripling the usage of a specified space (5 innovations propelling the furniture industry into the future, 2019). The high-tech wardrobe slides components within this system (such as bed, drawer etc.) convert a single room into a one-bedroom apartment which is equipped with bed, desk, closet, lighting, media centre etc.

Application of Theories

As per the Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) Theory, adoption of an innovation requires time so that people can analyse the feature or technology and then make a purchase. The innovation brought in by made.com in past in the form of NFC tags and CloudTags also could not capture the attention of customers from the very beginning, yet with the passage of time, this technology was able to captivate three quarter of consumers in marketplace (Acharya, Schaefer and Zhang, 2015). Besides this, the future innovation of company in terms of robotic furniture will also take time to establish a good image amongst a wide range of audience. There are a number of factors within this theory that impact the adoption rate of innovation in market, these are briefly described below:-

Relative Advantage:

The historic innovation of tag technology of made.com is highly innovative and provides a large base of data to company in terms of staff performance recognition, personalised customer recommendations etc.

The future innovation of robotic furniture is a hi-tech feature that aims to ease the experience of customers and provide them space as per their own accords.

Compatibility:

The innovation of NFC Tags and CloudTags tablets is largely consistent with the needs and desirability of customers and provides them extra information about products they point at by way of tablets.

The future innovation of Made.com strives to give users the opportunity to transform their space as per the activity they are willing to conduct, like sleeping, doing work etc. (Jurkovic  and et. al., 2015).

Complexity:

The past as well as future innovation does not much require use of hi-tech features by customers. This implies that the innovation is not much complex and can be accessed by users easily while making a purchase during their shopping experience.

Trialability:

 The tag technology of made.com allow users to gather extra informations about features of product so as to take decisions in relation to purchase of product. This implies that customers can gain knowledge about the product before buying the product.

The robotic furniture is also providing the customers with the facility of moulding the furniture as per the needs and requirements of people. This feature can be tested by customers within the showroom before making a purchase.

Observability:

 The benefits of robotic furniture as well as tag technology are tangible and can be seen by customers, thereby rendering a competitive edge to made.com and assisting them in retaining the consumers for a long duration of time.

As per Disruptive Innovation Theory, there are many innovations which lead to disruption of existing and generation of new markets as well as value networks. In this regard, the tag technology innovation of Made.com largely disrupted the industry by introducing a whole new and unique concept of NFC tags and CloudTags tablets which provide large scale convenience and ease to people (Goolsbee and Krueger, 2015). Besides this, the robotic furniture that is going to be launched by company in future context is a new technology not yet explored by many companies.

Thus, this innovation will largely disrupt the furniture retail sector and assist the enterprise in gaining a high stake in market.

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Conclusion

From the above report, it can be concluded that innovation is a tool by which entities can gain a strategic as well as competitive edge in market. Also, it has been analysed that innovation drives the business growth and sustainability of enterprise for a long duration of time. Besides this, it has been assessed that Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) and Theory of Disruptive Innovation can be implemented by an organisation to enhance the existing capabilities of their products and services, thereby, striving to gain a high stake in marketplace. Furthermore, it is ascertained that by continuously engaging in innovative practices, company can easily build a feeling of trust and loyalty among customers to retain them for long time.

References

  • Helper, S. and Henderson, R., 2014. Management practices, relational contracts, and the decline of General Motors. Journal of Economic Perspectives. 28(1). pp.49-72.
  • Noble, D., 2017. Forces of production: A social history of industrial automation. Routledge.
  • Goolsbee, A. D. and Krueger, A. B., 2015. A retrospective look at rescuing and restructuring general motors and chrysler. Journal of Economic Perspectives. 29(2). pp.3-24.
  • Dodgson, M., 2018. Technological collaboration in industry: strategy, policy and internationalization in innovation. Routledge.
  • Greer, I. and Hauptmeier, M., 2012. Identity work: Sustaining transnational collective action at General Motors Europe. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society. 51(2). pp.275-299.
  • Jurkovic, S. and et. al., 2015. Induction machine design and analysis for general motors e-assist electrification technology. IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications. 51(1). pp.631-639.
  • El-Refaie, A. M., 2013. Motors/generators for traction/propulsion applications: A review. IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine. 8(1). pp.90-99.
  • Acharya, V. V., Schaefer, S. and Zhang, Y., 2015. Liquidity risk and correlation risk: A clinical study of the General Motors and Ford Downgrade of May 2005. The Quarterly Journal of Finance. 5(02). p.1550006.
  • Pound, A., 2013. The Turning Wheel-The story of General Motors through twenty-five years 1908-1933. Edizioni Savine.
  • Grandori, A. ed., 2012. Interfirm networks: organization and industrial competitiveness. Routledge.
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