With the business climate deteriorating, how can you ensure that you're running your business to optimum efficiency?

Adrian Gundy, senior executive for innovation, Centre for Competitiveness (CforC), replies:


" In the current economic climate, innovation is more important than ever as it can result in significant efficiency gains as well as new markets and new revenue streams. There is the temptation in a difficult business environment to cut spending on innovation. However, this is often counterproductive.

Innovation means finding new and better ways of doing things to support business improvement and growth. A process of ongoing, planned innovation is vital.

Know your own business.

The first step to becoming more innovative is to gain a picture of your current business performance in order to understand your strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to prioritise the areas of your business on which your efforts should be focused.
There are a number of ways of benchmarking your business performance. The most widely used business improvement and planning tool in Europe is the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model. Thousands of businesses across Europe use the EFQM Excellence Model to continually monitor and improve their business in a planned and strategic way. The benefits of using the tool are well accepted and I would encourage businesses of all shapes and sizes to take advantage of its potential.

Know your business environment.
It is also vital that you scan the business landscape for innovation opportunities — know your marketplace, know your customers and continually monitor both. If you know your customers and the marketplace better than your competitors, the likelihood is that you will become aware of opportunities to develop new products or services, or to expand your products or services before they do.

Create an innovation culture.
It is those businesses that develop innovation policies and strategies and integrate them into their organisation's strategy that become the most innovative. They then empower and educate their people so that innovation becomes second nature".

via belfasttelegraph.co.uk