The construction industry is currently in a state of turmoil – as the economic situation begins to improve, we are finding that the challenges of securing contracts and motivating people throughout the recessionary period are being replaced with different challenges including retaining people, maintaining the business ethos and controlling growth in what remains an incredibly competitive industry. Through recession and as we exit, a strategic approach to business management is key to longevity and sustainability of an organisation. In the context of Read Construction Holdings Ltd (the writer’s organisation), there are significant changes currently underway – a new business plan targeting significant growth over 3 years, new directors and
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Businesses that innovate create more efficient work processes and have better productivity and performance. In that context then, innovation does not necessarily have to be a new invention, but can include the adaptation or imitation of a product or process that has been invented by a competitor. Having the emotional intelligence within the organisation to identify a USP or emerging technology and the market impact in order to gauge or create the need or indeed adapt the an idea to suit a different marketplace or business context in order that the innovation may be adopted as either an innovator or early adopter as categorised in Rogers (1971) adopter categorisation. The driver being to gain a USP and increase competitive advantage. Following this theory, it could be well argued that, due to the lag in uptake of new ideas, one strategy that may be beneficial is to follow as an early adopter and bring innovations forward after others have tested the market appetite.
Product & Process Innovation
Although very different in terms of a definition, product and process innovation often go hand in hand within organisations. Product innovation is concerned with the final product, technology or service whilst process innovation is related to the way in which the product is produced and distributed with regard to cost and reliability. Abernathy & Utterback (1975) developed a dynamic model of process and product innovation which