Innovation refers to development or creation of a new or even enhanced product or service by an organization. Innovation can also be described as the deliberate or intentional application of imagination, initiative, and information so as to derive different or greater values from organizational resources and normally includes all the processes through which new ideas are not only generated but also converted into beneficial or useful products (Kindström & Kowalkowski, 2014). Innovation is quite essential for each and every organization and therefore it is important that it is efficiently managed. Indeed, innovation in organizations is now being regarded as being a core or key competency which each and every organization in the contemporary world must always develop. This is attributed to the fact that companies or organizations which are consistently known to innovate do not rely on chance but rather, they are known to effectively address innovation through the use of systematic strategies or techniques.
A framework that could be used in the assessment of an organization in terms of innovation
There are various ways that can be used in order to ascertain if an organization is keen on the innovation of a new product or service. For instance, such an organization will have to be not only creative, but also create room for trying of new ideas which ought to be attained in a flexible and loose environment (Carlborg, Kindström, & Kowalkowski, 2014). For a company to successful innovate a product, one of the essential components that ought to be included in the innovation process are the proper inputs. Proper inputs imply that such an organization must not only have the right people to innovate the product but it must also have the appropriate financial and physical resources as well as tools that can make the innovation of the product to become successful.
Another critical element that should be embraced by an organization that is keen on innovating a new product is Knowledge Management (KM). Knowledge management implies that such an organization should not only have a systematic management of its knowledge asset, but it must also ensure that it effectively handles its information as well as resources in its commercial organization (Johnston & Marshall, 2016). This implies that an organization that has the capability of innovating a new service should quite ultimately be in a better position of creating value as well as meet both the strategic and tactical requirements. This should be done through making use of appropriate processes, systems, strategies, and initiatives that are aimed at enhancing not only the storage and assessment but also the creation, refinement, and sharing of important organizational resources (Talk, 2016). A company that is keen on embracing the innovation of a new product should also be in a better position of encouraging the generation of new ideas, have knowledge repository, as well as have clear organizational information flow within it. That part, it is also important for an organization that wants to innovate a new product to ensure that it has a clear cultural structure that stipulates the duties and responsibility of each and every organizational stakeholder in the creation of the new product (Storbacka et al, 2015).
Description of the framework and the justification of the critical elements
For an organization to effectively innovate a new product, then it is important that it embraces an effective project management structure. This implies that such an organization should ensure that the project to initiate or innovate a new product is efficient and meets the needs and aspirations of the targeted clients. The organization should also ensure that there are effective tools and clear communication that will make the development or innovation of the new product a success and beneficial for both the organization and the targeted customers (Jonas & Roth, 2017). It is also important that an organization which is keen on the innovation of a new product conducts the relevant collaboration to ensure that all the relevant people and stakeholders who are involved in the innovation of the new product right from the start to the end are brought on board.
Another significant element that should be used in order to assess whether an organization is keen on the innovation of a new product is its ability to embrace commercialization. This implies that the company or organization should carry out a thorough market research to ascertain whether the new product that is to be innovated will be suitable and sell to the targeted customers (Katila et al, 2013). The organization should also conduct market testing so that it can ascertain how the new product will be received by customers before it is ultimately launched to the market. The company that wants to innovate the new product should also put in place or have in place the relevant marketing and sales strategies that will be used in the marketing of the new product so that it reaches potential or targeted customers.
In order to assess whether an organization is keen on embracing innovation, another vital element that could be used to proof this is the ability of the company or organization to have growth orientation. This implies that the company or organization should actually have a commitment towards the achievement of long-term growth as opposed to the attainment of short-term profits. That apart, an organization should also be Vigilant and have external links since being vigilant will make to become aware of any arising opportunities that it can exploit in order to become profitable and also become aware of any threats that may hinder it to successfully innovate new products or services (Bettencourt & Brown, 2013).
One of the key elements that should be applied by an organization or company that is keen to innovate is that it should be commitment to use technology in the innovation of the new product (Ulaga & Loveland, 2014). This implies that such a company should actually be willing to highly invest the development of long term technology that will make the innovation of the new product easier. That apart, the willingness of a company to innovate a new product can also be assessed through its willingness to accept the risks that are associated with the development of such a product or service. This means that a company that is consistent in innovation should actually ensure that its balanced portfolio also comprises of the risk opportunities. In addition to that, the company should also ensure that there is “cross-functional coordination” as well as cooperation within all stakeholders in the organizational structure (Norman & Verganti, 2014). In essence, this implies that there should be mutual respect as well as commitment among all and sundry and there must also be willingness of all organizational stakeholders to work together and help each other across functions.
In order to assess an organization based on innovation, then it is important to ascertain the receptivity of such an organization. This implies that the ability of such a company to not only become aware but to also identify and even take any viable advantage on the technology that has been externally developed need to be gauged. Such an organization should also be assessed to gauge whether there is enough space for creativity that will enable the company to innovate the new product (Lindemann et al, 2013). Such a company should also be assessed in order to ascertain whether it has the ability of managing the dilemma associated with innovation and also ensure that there is provision of enough room for creativity.
An organization that is keen on the innovation of a new product also needs to be assessed based on its ability to have viable strategic goals aimed at the innovation of the new product. This implies that the company should not only have an effective strategic plan but it must also ensure that it has selected the best technologies and markets that will be used in the management of the new innovated product. Moreover, the ability of a company to innovate a new product can also be assessed by its ability to coordinate a diverse or wide range of skills. This is in fact quite true because the development of a new marketable product or even service will require the combination of various ranges of knowledge which is specialized. The success of a company to successfully innovate a new product will thus be based on its ability and commitment to embrace the organizational characteristics that easily facilitate the whole process of innovation.
For any company or organization to innovate successfully, then it must put in place effective strategies and tools to guarantee it success (Thompson et al, 2015). For instance, the company should always embrace the key features associated with innovation and these include among other aspects ensuring that the autonomy of each and every person is guaranteed, ensuring that there is professional accountability in the innovation process, and also ensure that there is provision of enough scientific freedom and creative space in the innovation process. That apart, the organization should also ensure that the participation of the concerned stakeholders is done in “open cross-functional” teams and that diversity and richness of innovation data is upheld.
Application of the Innovation framework to the Coca -Cola Company
One of the prestigious companies that I would always like or wish to work for is the Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company is one of the companies that are known to come up with new innovations that are targeted at potential customers with significant success. Based on the above innovation framework, it is quite apparent that the Coca-Cola Company despite the few flaw backs has tried the best and ensured that the innovation process of the company becomes a significant success. Indeed, the Coca-Cola Company, renown for the manufacturing of a wide range of refreshments and beverages across the world appreciates the fact that innovation is a major or key concern in all the life aspects and makes every effort so that it achieves out of technology in its innovation endeavors (Chowdhury et al, 2016). Indeed, the company has a world-wide effort in ensuring that it actually innovates through the use of technology and ensured that it applies innovation to each and every aspect of its entire business operations. As a result, the company has ensured that its innovative brands not only drive the train, but also ensured that it fuels the train with appropriate innovation around the aspects that help potential customers to both reach out and buy its range of brands. Some of the aspects that help it to achieve success in its innovation efforts include but are not limited to sales, distribution, as well as merchandising to clients as well as shoppers.
There are various examples that can be used to depict that indeed, the Coca-Cola company has embraced technology in coming up with new innovations that have suited the customers tastes and desires. For instance, the Coca-Cola Company developed some special 250ml slim cans in the United Kingdom which are ultimately scanned by the Blippar application in order to access the augmented reality technology (Patton, 2014). In this case, it actually seems as if the can is coming to life right in front of the purchaser while playing music as well as linking buyers towards the “Spotify” playlists. This made buyers to become attracted to the company’s new products (Garland, 2014).
The 250ml slim cans using Blippar App
The Coca-Cola Company has successes in embracing incremental innovation that has seen it attain success in making small scale enhancements that have ultimately added value or sustained value towards its existing processes and products. This has been achieved through not only adding new features to a line of its various existing products but also through the development of new line extensions to its products (Weston, 2015). For instance, the Coca-Cola Company incremental innovation is reflected through line extensions to its brands such as Coke with Lime, Cherry Coke, and Coca-Cola Life that has enabled the approximately 130 years old brand to remain relevant in the market, tap into the emerging trends and even bring new aspects to its customers located in various parts of the world.
The Coca-Cola Company’s success in the innovation process is highly attributed to various critical elements that are listed above. For instance, its success in the innovation process is highly based on its ability to ensure that it puts in place an effective project management structure that is responsible for generation of new innovation idea in the implementation of the same until the new final product is eventually launched into the market (Karnani, 2014). The team in the project management structure thus ensures that the new product being launched by the Coca-Cola Company is not only efficient but also meets the tastes and aspirations of its targeted customers. It therefore ensures that all people involved in the innovation of the new product work together as a team to guarantee the new product’s success.
Based on the innovation strategies that have been adopted by the Coca-Cola Company, it is quite apparent that the company has actually ensured that it has used the right inputs which comprise of time, the right people, technology, and ideas to make the entire process a success. This has led to the innovation of new products that have been attractive and desirable to its customers. In addition to that, the company has also highly commercialization in that before rolling out a new product that it has innovated, it first of all conducts market research to ascertain the impact of the product on potential customers (Arnold, 2015). The company also tests the newly innovated products on the local market before it is eventually released to its global market that prevails in various countries across the world.
Based on the above framework, it is quite apparent that the Coca-Cola Company has been effectively receptive towards innovation. This is quite true because the company not only successfully identifies but also assesses its space for creativity before it finally comes up with a new product innovation.
It can truly be asserted that even though the Coca-Cola Company has made tremendous efforts in ensuring that it comes up with new innovative products that are suitable to its customers, there are various gaps that the company needs to address. For instance, some of the innovation gaps being faced by the Coca-Cola Company are the fact that the Company sometimes does not perform well on the New York Stock Exchange. This is despite the fact that the Coca-Cola Company has a strong “global brand recognition”, it actually struggles to ensure that it maintains tremendous growth in the soft-drink/beverage sector. In addition to that, trends shifts coupled with the sales of carbonated sales in North America has continued to dwindle as some of the consumers in the country opt for other options such as cold brewed coffee, juice, water, teas, and energy drinks (Briggs et al, 2016). That apart, despite the fact that the Coca-Cola Company has strong brands, its stock does not seem to gain any significant momentum. That apart, there have been complaints that the Coca-Cola Company uses lots of water in its products in making its products for customers thus making customers not attain full value for their money.
What is being done well at the Coca-Cola Company?
The Coca-Cola Company has for a long period of time, been well respected because it is ever looking for innovation both outside and inside the company. In addition to that, the establishment of what is known as the “Venturing and Emerging Brands Group” (VEB) which is a Coca-Cola unit that was created in the year 2007 has played a significant role in ensuring that any gap that exists between entrepreneurs and big companies is bridged effectively. The group also ensures that it launches approximately 300 new brands of beverages each year in order to effectively evaluate its brands.
What requires to be improved at the Coca-Cola Company?
Even though the Coca-Cola Company has significantly played a role in ensuring that new products are invented for the company, there are some areas that need to be improved so that the company can achieve maximum benefits from its innovation endeavors (Sievenpiper et al, 2014). For instance, the Coca-Cola Company should work on improving the quality of water that the company uses in making its products. Indeed, the company should aim at enhancing water efficiency in its manufacturing operations to a greater percentage. The company should also ensure that it comes up with products that will meet all the needs of its customers.
A plan aimed at addressing areas of Weaknesses
Even though the Coca-Cola Company may be experiencing some flaws in its innovation endeavors, an effective plan can be developed so that it addresses some of the areas of its weaknesses. For instance, the company should get the involvement of top marketing agencies to ensure that the marketing of its wide range of products is consulted under one-Coca-Cola brand. In order to save the company from the dwindling sales due to a change in the consumers drinking habits, it is prudent for the company to seek for new innovative ways that could help it come up with full dietary products that will make customers stick to their products (Rim & Song, 2016). That part, the Coca-Cola Company should also ensure that it moves across various parts of the world in order to advertise its whole range of products instead of advertising each brand separately.
The company should engage the relevant stakeholders to ensure that it comes up with world class or global products that will not only be appealing to the entire world but also ensure that its customers are entertained and the business growth of the company is enhanced. Such stakeholders should come from all the places in the world to ensure that the products that will be innovated suit the needs of all and sundry (Gaither & Austin, 2016). The company should also not just concentrate on cost saving advantages alone but rather aim at the achievement of operational advantages associated to the global economies of scale.
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