The literature on entrepreneurship has increasingly developed around a framework of openness. Experts discuss how they are harnessing the power of open innovation in the current times
Distinguishably, entrepreneurs and startups play a pivotal role in driving economic growth and eventually creating jobs for many. However, despite the disruptive contributions that these startups are making in the ecosystem, their future will be determined by their ability to leverage market power and scale to become an established enterprise. For this, both large and small companies are under duress to bring innovative ideas to the table, not letting culture, structure or other issues get in their way. It has thus become vital for entrepreneurs/startups and large enterprises to synchronise their respective capabilities and collaborate in this digital era.
This is exactly where open innovation (OI) comes into action. Conceived by Chesbrough in 2003, he considers it as a paradigm for technological advancement suggesting how firms should use both internal and external contributions and paths to market. Given that the interactions in the digital space are much faster and not locally bound, it is perhaps necessary to systematise what exists and propose valuable insights on the existing gaps to produce valuable bases for entrepreneurs in order to capture all OI opportunities and to push future collaborations. Also, to win the competitive advantage, an adequate balance of inbound and outbound connections must be strived to commercialise a given technology.
At the BW Young Entrepreneur Summit & Awards 2021, a powerful panel of new-age entrepreneurs takes us through their journey, while unanimously keeping innovation to the core of their operations.
For Divij Bajaj, CEO, Power Gummies, the company literally rests on the old adage, ‘need is the mother of innovation’. He shares how his mother has prescribed 16 vitamin tablets a day and how he made sure to offer them to her with an innovative touch each time. “I felt there was an opportunity to make nutrition fun where consumers will not be afraid to try. Nutraceutical was bound for a revolution and that’s when we mixed science with happiness. We came up with Power Gummies’ motto as ‘health powered by happiness and backed by science.
Bajaj furthers that the D2C format has given a push to their drive for innovation. “Since the business is digital, it is easier to understand our consumer’s buying behaviour, his persona, his response to my ad etc. This allows us to cater to him accurately. This is where we can bring innovation and our marketing efforts at a successful level,” he asserts.
Commenting on her how innovation is a key pillar for them, Sargam Dhawan Bhayana, Director, Tressmart Marketing shares that the company works with Israel brands and keeps in touch with embassies abroad that further associate with startups employing innovative young people. “We get the first-hand exclusive prototypes of what is coming in the market. Then, research on the ongoing trends is conducted, along with attention to customer feedback. For their feedback, we also hold an annual forum to understand their pain points/ suggestions.”
On her future plans, Bhayana aims to manufacture their own products since they will be licensed. Along with this, she intends to get into exclusive contracts with brands and aggregators whereby the company can offer better deals. Last but not the least, she hopes to take the business offline and directly target bigger players.
Sunaina Harjai, Director, Hats off Accessories also highlights her moment of truth when she observed how the homegrown brands never made it to the top. “For us, it was always about the product. We wanted to create a brand that thrived on Indian manufacturing and a design value that was loved by customers. That moment for me was the product itself,” she says.
She explains how it was about being frugal at the beginning. And hence, she took the collaboration route to cement the company. She credits this model for her success today, given that the cash flow was limited in the initial days.
Attempting to innovate and simplify the mattress-buying process, the journey of SleepyCat intended to proffer a cutting-edge product, cut down the middle-men, ensure delivery in two days and eventually mark a better value proposition, informs its CEO & Founder, Kabir Siddiq.
He too supports the idea of collaboration as it opens up the audience to different brands. “We get to share data, establish attention at all areas and utilise their innovation, products & facilities, etc.,” he points.
We all agree that one of the powers of open innovation is the ability to pivot on the fly, taking from our past learnings and moving forward. For the budding and established entrepreneurs, innovation remains to be a continuous process, keeping the consumer needs at the centre and keeping an eye on the trends.
Source: Business World