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How can small businesses overcome resistance to innovation?

We invite you to do a self-examination exercise: when you hear the word innovation, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it a cell phone, an app, artificial intelligence, or a robot to perform open-heart surgery?

It is normal that, when concepts like these come to mind, small companies feel not only overwhelmed, but also overwhelmed by the costs (and risks) derived from innovation, the pressure of competition and the daily tasks of day-to-day business.

But innovation is not just this sort of thing

We tend to identify innovation with robots and all that, but in reality, when it comes to pymes that cannot afford such large investments, the real innovation lies in the implementation of ideas to create added value. The combination of new ideas applied to different business contexts and activities is what allows creativity to come into play and innovation to really take place.

If we analyze it well, innovation and creativity play a fundamental role in small businesses, so that they can be competitive. Moreover, without these novel ideas, a small business falls behind, something that also happens when we do not treat this aspect with the importance it has.

Spain, a country in which small businesses need to innovate more

Yes, it is true that there are small companies in our country that are highly innovative, but this is not the general trend in our business fabric. That is why it is essential for organizations to manage their efforts intelligently in order to make the most of them. It is a fact that the industry is facing new challenges, and in this sense, the small Spanish company has been left behind.

In a fast-changing environment of global innovation, how can small businesses embrace the change that is so necessary?

First, they need to understand how innovative technologies could potentially change their current markets. Second, they can take advantage of the opportunities presented by these technologies to not only respond but also to create disruption. They also need to rethink the dominant logic of how they do business by continually trying new combinations to innovate their business models.

Small companies have a much easier time than large companies embracing digital transformation, as in the latter changing the business model in a way that changes the way they do business is very difficult. There is an established methodology, it is a more complicated machinery to stop.

However, for the small business it is also a big effort, as it requires the ability to take advantage of current opportunities while exploring other options. It’s a balance that is difficult to achieve.

The key is to think like a startup. Find a market niche that begs for a new or better solution and find an effective business model that leverages digital disruption to efficiently deliver the value proposition.

It is not exceptional individual innovations that underpin rapid growth, but exceptional execution of an ordinary idea.