There are a number of key ingredients which businesses should focus on to drive innovation. Morningside Pharmaceuticals’ Chief Executive Dr Nik Kotecha OBE gives his 9 top tips for innovating your business to success:
“Innovation embodies the improvement of something that has come before, and it’s the companies that do this best, which are the ones that will ultimately have sustained success.
This often means considering measured risks, such as taking a holistic approach to the whole business while ensuring investment is made in people and training. Ultimately the businesses which seek to make continuous improvements, will close the biggest gaps and identify the newest opportunities.
Here are a few pieces of advice, which I’ve picked up along the way, during my 28 years in business.
1) Look for a Gap in the Market
Spotting a gap in the market or an opportunity should be the start of your journey. You can then create a strategy around how to maximise the potential of your idea. Morningside was established in the 1990s after we identified a gap in the market for the niche requirement for high quality medicines in developing countries. We initially focused on the Commonwealth countries, which had a greater appreciation of ‘Brand UK’ and the high quality of manufacturing standards for medicines here. The company then grew from there.
2) Clear Vision
Having a clear vision or mission of what your business does and how you’re going to deliver this is essential to creating a well thought through innovative approach. When Morningside was founded we took a long time to agree our company’s mission, which is ‘to make quality healthcare an affordable and accessible reality throughout the world.’ Every word in our mission means something and is the corner stone of our business. The work that went into this has proved invaluable throughout the years, as it’s acted as a constant reminder for our employees about what our company does for our customers and patients.
3) Invest in Innovation
In order to grow our business into the UK market we took a decision to invest heavily in infrastructure, our people and Research & Development. This was crucial to creating new, more convenient, ways for patients to take our medicines, such as under the tongue ‘Buccal’ tablets and slow release tablets and capsules. This approach led to Morningside becoming the first company to launch the generic version of the contraceptive pill in the UK. One area to start with might be to invest in new technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency. You should also look to contract out areas of your business where you need specialist support. This will come at a cost but it will ensure these areas are fully covered so you can concentrate on growing your company.
4) Strategy, strategy, strategy
An essential ingredient to ensure your business continuously improves and maximises all of the opportunities available, is to have a clear strategy. Striving for continuous improvement is particularly important as it will ensure you are at the forefront of new developments. You will then be in a great position to grow into new markets much faster, which will enable your business to stay ahead of the competition. Each year we host an Objectives Day where managers present the previous year’s highlights and their team’s targets for the coming year. This then helps each individual in the organisation to understand, buy into and take ownership of our company’s priorities.
5) Fine Tune & Develop Your Supply Chain
As a manufacturing business, getting our supply chain right was vital for the smooth running of the company. Look for efficiencies you can make and technical innovation you can implement, which will help to cut costs and ensure everything works like clockwork. Using technology can also ensure you gather, record and analyse information more reliably and accurately.
The most innovative company in the world will never achieve strong, continuous annual growth without the support from an extraordinary team. You should develop a learning culture within your business where there is a passion for developing and training your people. We take great pride in supporting young people who are looking to start their careers, as well as developing colleagues to reach their full potential. Having an HR strategy to actively recruit innovative people is also a good idea.
7) Innovative Culture
Creating a culture where your employees are able to share ideas, be creative and have a can do-attitude is a catalyst for innovation. Setup regular brainstorming sessions at all levels and welcome all ideas. Believe me, some of my most successful business decisions have come about in this way from junior members of the team. Make sure that all management are accessible and that there are easy ways for your employees to share information and ideas with them. It’s also important that your employees see each pot-hole as a crucial learning step along the road to success.
Your customers are the life-blood of your organisation, so building long term relationships can be key to growing your business. Innovation plays a role in this, as you should look at ways to innovate to make your customers’ lives easier. This can be to make transactions more automated, or to improve the logistic within your supply chain. I have also found that helping customers to develop and innovate alongside your business can go a long way to building trust and advocacy into the long term.
9) Be passionate
Being passionate about what you do creates an energy and drive which will rub off on your employees, and galvanize them to support you in achieving your company’s goals. Make sure to convey your passion in your communications to staff and ensure you deliver a consistent, engaging and interactive organisation narrative that ties in with your company’s mission and values.”