Nigeria like every developing economy is a land of opportunities. It has the population size, the diversity creates several chances for customer’s insight, which should lead to innovative product, disruptive business model and operational process changes. What I have seen is an absence of trying to exploit the codified and tacit knowledge available around us.
The customer, employers, suppliers and other stakeholders have been effectively utilized world over in evolving new products, process and business model. From the rarest of place, banking, which is known to be highly regulated, we have seen innovative product, model and process come out. From Mpesa in Kenya to Microfinance in Bangladesh which though may have roots in our esusu, all were products of innovation management.
It offered a chance to take an idea to the marketplace, with improvements and greater value creation. In the developed world, we have seen companies who appreciate innovation as a process and utilize it to their competitive advantage: IBM, P& G, Starbuck, the list is endless. However, how much understanding and appreciation of it do we have and have we exploited for our good in Nigeria?
Richard Branson is an acknowledged innovator in his business model, process and product, the Virgin brand is a good case. I am drawn to review what innovation will mean to Nigerian firms, government and institution, not with a new government in place; I expect a proper application of the wealth of knowledge and reason of the people in governance. This is a part of Innovation management called idea management.
It could help identify priorities. Yes, its application in government would be referendum. In the Nigerian corporate and public space, there have been limited applications of innovation management practice. Worth mentioning is a leading bank in Nigeria who after the wake of =N=25 Billion capitalization, saw the need to keep his best hands while rewarding them, introduced regional MD/CEO business model in the management of the bank.
With the dwindling profits among companies, what could upturn the table in their favor will be calling up ideas from all stakeholders around; call it crowd sourcing or utilize the web 2.0; in developing new products or services, the joy is you get more at little cost, but at utmost pleasure to your stakeholders.
This piece was contributed by Bola who hosts higher education and management blog.