“Celebrating Innovation” is the theme of this month’s OMS blog. And, while innovation may seem like a given for a successful business operation, it can still be elusive.
Is Innovation Only for Start-Ups?
When thinking about innovation in the current B2B marketplace, the flurry of start-ups and young entrepreneurial companies may be the first that come to mind. TV shows like Shark Tank are famous for profiling these start-up “wanna-be’s” who come on-air to pitch the famous VCs and try to secure funding to bring their ideas to market.
In addition to what we see on reality TV, there has been an explosion of business “incubators” sprouting up all over the country as accelerators to spur greater collaboration and the adoption of new thinking and ideas. Here in Chicago, the 1871 and MATTER incubators have become widely known and respected as fostering innovation, and the scores of notable start-ups that have resulted are evidence of their success.
So is innovation just front-and-center for start-ups? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines innovation as simply “the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods.” And, while start-ups and young companies and their leaders are often in the driver’s seat when it comes to innovation, the commitment to a culture of innovation is critical for companies of all sizes – from large multinational enterprise organizations to the mid-sized Fortune 1000 and smaller businesses.
Spearheading Real-World Innovation
This month, the Chicago Innovation Awards (CIA) will announce their 2018 winners, which is always an exciting time to toast the forward-thinking companies in Chicago that drive innovation. Over the years, several OMS clients have been honored with prestigious CIA awards and other honors for innovation. Take a look at a few of our clients who are taking unique approaches to raise the bar:
- Brother Mobile Solutions (BMS) – BMS is celebrating 10 years in business this month, which also corresponds with the 110th anniversary of BMS’ parent, Brother International, Ltd., a large global manufacturer. From its inception, BMS was formed as a high-growth business unit that would drive product and service innovation from within the larger multi-national corporation. BMS leaders call this an “intrepreneurial” approach – where a start-up inside a big company breaks down barriers to quickly bring products to market that are designed to solve customer challenges in a value-based model. This differs from a feature-function product development approach. BMS has grown to more than 3.5 times its original size since its founding, and the company attributes the success to building a culture of innovation, a team with a ‘discovery’ mindset and a focus on building relationships with key software and channel partners.
- Cummins Allison – Cummins Allison credits the company’s commitment to innovation and R&D as the keys to its longevity and success in the highly competitive markets that it serves, including financial services, retail, gaming and grocery. The company has been consistently named to Crain’s Chicago Business Innovation List, and ranked as one of the top five Most Innovative Companies since the list debuted in 2012. Owing to the company’s success is the fact that Cummins Allison is the only U.S.-based company that designs, develops and manufactures currency, check and ticket processing solutions. The company maintains a large team of engineers that are continually looking to develop the next breakthrough, while enhancing current products to offer more features or make them more durable or efficient. In this way, Cummins Allison serves as a true partner to its customers – helping them become successful today and well into the future.
- Molex – A global electronics solutions provider, Molex has customers in many industries including medical, automotive, consumer electronics, datacom and telecom. Molex works closely with companies on the design and development of solutions that are within its customers’ ‘next generation’ product lines, such as autonomous vehicles and medical devices. The company is a three-time winner of the Chicago Innovation Awards and the founding sponsor of the Chicago Innovation Innovator’s Connection program, which brings together Illinois-based corporations with local start-ups. Molex’s company-wide commitment to innovation is further represented by a successful internal employee program called the Innovation Challenge. Every two years, employees from all over the world submit their product, solution or service ideas. The winners are selected by the leadership team for potential investment.
OMS offers a wide range of marketing communications services designed to support the range of enterprise to start-up clients in a wide range of industries as they continue to innovate for sustainable revenue growth. Learn more about our services here.
Author: Suzette Sexton, SVP, Outlook Marketing Services