“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” - Steve Jobs
Nutraceutical industry is moving forward with the advent of new scientific technologies and innovations. Innovation, along with product quality, is fundamental to long term growth and success of any business. Certain products are marketed unchanged for years, this way certain organisations have been able to survive with very limited innovation. In such cases, the focus is on providing quality products and simply updating the products to a level that sustains their competitiveness in the market. This process applies to certain products with long lifecycles and few opportunities for innovation. But if any organisation wants to achieve significant growth in the business, innovation is essential to expand the product portfolio. So far in nutraceuticals innovations have been mainly in the areas of delivery formats, bioavailability, shelf–life extension, enhancement of flavour etc.
Need/Importance of innovation
Innovation is important as it is one of the key ways to differentiate a product from its competition. The business would stand out with innovative products and ideas for marketing if competing on price becomes difficult.
Innovation in the business can also be driven by the extent of innovation from its competitors. Being the first to market a new product can prove to be a significant advantage in terms of building a customer base. It is difficult to compete if the products are seen as out-dated. However, when investing in innovation we need to keep in mind that many businesses survive by copying and adapting the innovations of others and benefit from others hard work.
Looking at this from a wider angle, innovation is important for the advancement of society around the world. New and innovative products can increase standard of living and provide people with opportunities to improve their lives. Innovations in the areas of medicine and technology have significantly improved the standard of living around the world. Innovation has also lead to significant improvements in the way businesses operate and has closed the gaps between different markets.
Some forces driving innovation are:
Outsourcing & Globalisation:
There is an increased impetus to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation. Organisations need more than good products to survive and grow; they require innovative processes and management that can drive down costs and improve productivity.
Consumers: Consumer expectations drive innovation in the market. Consumers are used to products that continually improve and make their life easier. Today’s consumers are more aware and informed and have more options in terms of what they buy and who they buy it from.
Competitors: Competitors innovation is an essential driving factor for innovation. In any business there is a need to be the first to launch a new concept, product, process etc.
Innovation in products will lead to an improved product portfolio thereby, empowering the organisation to further accelerate business growth.
Innovation system (IS)
The main idea of an innovation system is the flow of technology and information among organisation and people. Initiatives and institutions are the key to an innovative process. The innovation system mainly involves the interaction between the key players who are needed in order to turn an idea into a process, product or service in the market.