Innovation To A Companys Strategy Ibm Management Essay

The report will provide an insight into the innovation process and the importance of innovation to a companys strategy. IBM has built a strong global reputation in the field of innovative thinking. The company holds an annual meeting known as the Global Innovation Outlook (GIO) where the world’s leading innovators gather to discuss various issues in relation to innovation. Collaboration is an essential component of the innovative process and with a combination of knowledge, resources, expertise both parties can proceed to create unified innovative product offering to their respective customers. The report will also analyze the potential economic opportunities in the sectors of healthcare and government services. Analysis of the potential benefits drawbacks and most importantly potential obstacles will be carried out.

The purpose of this report is to effectively analyze the overall role and importance of innovation for the strategy of a company such as IBM. With the continuous and rapid progression of technology; companies and consumers alike are in constant need of enhancement of how they conduct their operations. Such problems could range from the efficiency of a corporate networking system to effectiveness of an ambulance dispatching system. This is where Innovation steps in; IBM is one of the world leaders in terms of innovation and development of solutions for a range of industries. The report will provide an in depth analysis of the various components of innovation and illustrate how each component is linked to the strategic management of IBM. Additionally, the report will focus on the benefits, drawback and most importantly the obstacles of innovation.

3.0 Company History and Overview

IBM (International Business Machines) the Multinational computer manufacturer was founded by Thomas J. Watson in 1911. With over a 100 years of experience in working in the field of information handling the company; IBM has been a major pioneer in the information technology; the company provides revolutionary methods as well as operational solutions and innovations for companies, organizations and people (IBM, 2010). Samuel J. Palmisano; the current CEO of IBM states “In my view, the defining value that IBM has provided over the years has been the way we think”. In recent times the public has dubbed employees of the company with the name of “IBMers” (About IBM, 2009).

At the end of 2009 IBM reported a Net income value of $13 million and Revenue of $95 million, additionally the company now has 399,409 employees (IBM, 2009).

3.1 Why IBM was chosen for the report

In regard to innovation; there are many companies which come to mind. However IBM has always had and an edge over the rest. A new study by IFI Patent Intelligence shows that in the year 2009; IBM had the largest number of patents with 4914 new inventions from which 70 percent accounts for software and services. The company has invested over $6 billion annually on research and development (IBM, 2009). Another major aspect to be considered is the fact that IBM has successfully created collaborative relationships with major companies such as Microsoft and Cisco; in an attempt to share their expertise with others and together create optimum business solutions to meet the needs of customers from a range of industries.

The company has successfully documented all of its findings on the effects, applications and results of innovation programs on the internet on their official website. This was another major factor for selecting IBM as the company for this report as vast amounts of up-to-date and accurate information as well as statistics could be easily obtained.

4.0 Literature Review

As mentioned in the previous section; IBM has conducted a number of studies and posted their findings on the IBM’s official website. Although most information in relation to the topic of innovation was obtainable from the official IBM website; external sources in the form of journals and a few web pages were also looked into. Two aspects which were looked into from the external sources were the drawbacks of innovation and the obstacles of innovation which will be explained in further detail at a later stage in the report.

Information relating to financial performance records were obtained with the help of the Annual Report published at the end of 2009. The Report is available from the IBM website as it is aimed at the company’s public shareholders. The report provides details on the thought process of IBM’s core beliefs in operations for the year 2009 and illustrates what the company will aim to target in the year 2010. The report states that in the period of time between the year 2000 to 2009; IBM has invested over $56 billion towards research and development (IBM, 2009). In the report IBM has noted; that before the trading period in 2009 they had indentified that a change in the overall needs for new and existing customers in terms of global integration would occur in the upcoming years. IBM states that the client needs would now be directed towards making amendments and improvements to productivity with the help of innovation. In essence the need of the hour; was to successfully integrate modern technology to business operations. To achieve this; IBM had carried out over a 108 strategic acquisitions from the period of 2000 to 2009; in an attempt to strengthen the existing portfolio of products for the company and provide more successful offerings to customers (IBM, 2009).

According to IBM (2009) the company has also cut down on expenses by $5 billion in order to improve the overall service quality in more dynamic environments. IBM continues to write of a new outlook towards the operational model involving the conventional approach to multinational operations; by adopting a strategy where smaller versions of the parent company would be replicated around the world. The new innovative approach which involves global integrated operations has had adverse affects on the company; allowing IBM to refocus their local workforce to satisfy the needs of customers by providing high-value and high-margin solutions (IBM, 2009).

IBM (2009) proceeds to provide figures of how the global integrated operations has made a significant financial impact; the report states that in 2009 IBM achieved record earnings per share of a value of $10.01 in comparison of the previous year’s value of $8.89; in terms of pre-tax earning the company achieved a value of $18.1 billion which is an increase by 9 percent. This success from the implementation of the innovative approach has been extremely beneficial; considering the fact that the current state of the global markets; which is still in recovery after the recently concluded financial crisis. IBM has met its target for the earning per share road map for 2010 of $10 to $11 which has been achieved a year ahead of expectations (IBM, 2009).

On the topic of innovation three reports were obtained from the IBM website. The first report which is called The Perfect Product Launch: Innovation drives growth in the consumer industry has been written by Karen Butner and Mark Wilterding from the IBM institute for Business Value. This report deals with the various innovative aspects that go into the process of developing and launching a product successfully. Butner and Wilterding (2006) provide an insight into the constant challenges faced by companies around the world; issues ranging from threat of competitors products to changes to customers and market requirements. Butner and Wilterding proceed to identify the importance of innovation in products and services especially in regard to CEO’s. A study conducted by IBM shows that in terms of the overall innovation process; 42 percent of a company’s innovation process is focused towards developments in the field of Products, services and markets (Butner and Wilterding, 2006). In addition Butner and Wilterding state that innovations in Products, services and markets would maintain a 1.2 percent higher operating margin than that of competitors. The authors lists the benefits to the product lifecycle of providing innovative solutions and services; one benefit listed on the report is increased margins as a result of more innovative products on offer which cannot be matched by any competitor for a substantial period of time.

Butner and Wilterding (2006) also acknowledge the fact that the success rates of new product innovation are historically low; factors such as an inaccurate understanding of the customer needs and the absence of a clear strategy may lead to a possible failure of the product in the market. In addition the report states that a lack of resources in terms of man power and financial assets could be one of the major factors towards the failure of a product launch.

According to Butner and Wilterding (2006) successful innovation is a key driver for revenue growth as well as competitive margins and to extent the survival of a company. One of the most critical components to successful innovation is the need to collaborate. The report states that the collaboration may take place between multinational firms to educational institutions; however the main collaborator should be the customer in an aim to meet their needs and requirements. According to the report; collaboration can have a significant impact on reducing the time in which a product is developed and released to the market and a study has shown that collaboration with customers and suppliers has the most significant impact.

The remaining two reports in relation to innovation were obtained from the studies carried out by IBM at an annual meeting known as the Global Innovation Outlook (GIO) where 248 thought leaders from over 48 countries representing 178 organizations around the world participate in “deep dive” sessions (GIO, 2009). The sessions are focused towards three major aspects of innovation which consist of:

  • Global: How technology can be widespread across various continents and the barriers of accessibility can be broken down or eliminated in order to promote participation of more individuals and organizations alike in the innovation economy.
  • Multidisciplinary: The process of innovation involves overcoming complex obstacles. With a mixture of talent and expertise theses obstacles can be overcome.
  • Collaborative and open: This is one of the success factors for the GIO with a collection of the greatest minds; more new innovative results can be achieved.
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The GIO also looks to identify new occurring trends and patterns across various industries. The report goes on to provide detailed information of trends that the GIO has indentified and considered as potential economic opportunities. Both reports provide specific information to selected industries; the segments which have been discussed are Health Care, Government services which include transportation and the business operations. The GIO has identified that the process of collaboration has always been major obstacle; IBM provides an insight into where collaboration can be applied (GIO, 2006). For example the effective collaboration of departments within the government presents itself with many problems; security being one such issue. The GIO (2006) states that if the government were to collaborate with industries; they would be able to keep up with the latest technological advancements as well as the pace of innovation and carry out successful implementations to their existing systems.

An important aspect that would have to be analyzed would be the potential drawbacks with innovation; an article was obtained from the internet from Copernicus Marketing Consulting. The article is called the Surviving Innovation written by Kevin J. Clancy and Peter C. Krieg. The authors make use of real world examples of how new product offerings from various customers may end up as failures. An important aspect that the authors write about is the cost of failure. Clancy and Krieg (2003) illustrate that a study carried out by Nielsen BASES and Ernst & Young state that the failure rate for new products accounts for 95 percent in the United Sates and 90 percent in Europe. The authors continue to provide details on problems in relation to the test markets; Clancy and Krieg (2003) state that the cost of the test markets are quite high and that they could cost over $ 3 million which would be taxing on a company which would have high costs directed towards the research and development process of the product.

The obstacle to innovation which a company may face is another crucial factor; a journal published by SAGE publications was obtained from an online library database. The journal called Innovation Implementation: Overcoming the Challenge which was written by Katherine J. Klein and Andrew P. Knight. The authors state that one of the most crucial factors to in terms of innovation is how the projects are implemented; a skilled workforce would be required this also applies to the managers who according to the authors play a critical role. The managers would be in charge of the actual implementation phase of project and the effective allocation of resources and supervision of the employees (Klein and Knight, 2005). Once the implementation of the innovation takes place the managers must stand by the decision; if they do not believe in the project the project outcome could result in a possible failure. A study carried out by Morgan Stanley estimates that on average companies will invest over $2.7 trillion into technology; $500 billion is wasted due to failures of successfully carrying out implementations (Klein and Knight, 2005). Financial resources are another obstacle; the authors state that the cost of innovation and implementation is not cheap. The authors conclude by saying that considering all the possible obstacles with innovation, the main focus should be on the implementation; if this does not succeed than a company would not be able to reap any benefits from innovation.

All the sources for this section were obtained through the internet and in most cases the credibility of the sources was not in question as all the authors mentioned above belong to either academic institutions or professional backgrounds. A majority of the sources were obtained from the official website of IBM. The reports obtained from the IBM website provided sufficient information in terms of the benefits and potential applications of innovation and to extent information relating to the possible obstacles that innovation processes would face. Information on possible drawbacks was obtained through the journal written by Katherine J. Klein and Andrew P. Knight helped by providing a more in depth analysis with the help of statistics carried out by credible organizations such as Morgan Stanley.

5.0 What is innovation?

Innovation is the process of creating a new idea which could possibly be through technology in the aim of providing a solution to a problem; this is the simple definition of the term “innovation”. In reality innovation is an extremely crucial aspect of life as innovation has been in existence from the very dawn of mankind. From the first cave men who created fire; to the invention of the wheel which changed the very way man transported different goods and in more recent times the innovation of the internet which is constantly growing and breaking geographical boundaries .

Innovation is extremely important especially for major corporations around the world; the progression of technology has been at its very peak in recent times and with this millions of people around the world come across problems which could range from inefficiency of data storage system for a warehouse to a more complex problem of providing faster communication and response times of an air traffic controller. These examples can be considered as economic opportunities; a corporation could be able to develop a system that would act as a solution to all these problems; this why companies around the world invest so much capital towards research and development. According to Clancy and Krieg (2003) on average most companies would be willing to invest over $500,000 per project. By creating innovative products and launching them in the market; companies can expect huge returns. With the constant threat of competition; companies are striving to create more innovative products that can meet all the needs and requirements of consumers around the world.

5.1 IBM’s approach to innovation

To a company like IBM innovation is a way of life; today the company is one of the world leaders in providing new technologies and successfully meeting the requirements of consumers around the globe and across different industries. In many ways IBM considers itself to be an Innovation Company (IBM, 2010). The company has had huge success in terms of development of new technologies; in the last year IBM came up with over 4000 new technical inventions this puts the company at the top of the list in terms of patent leaders in the United States; which can be seen in figure 5.1.

To IBM the employees of the firm can be the most important sources of innovation; the company has successfully set up “Jam sessions” where employees post messages in a system that is similar to a suggestion box. With this approach the company is now able to gain more as well as different perspective and outlooks on a wide array of areas. This process is known as ThinkPlace; it encourages employees within at any stage of the hierarchy to express their thoughts. The company currently employs over 300,000 people; ThinkPlace allows them to collaborate with the company and share their expertise as they would be aware of the different needs of the markets and gaining a broader perspective would be extremely beneficial to the firm (IBM, 2010).

5.2 The Global Innovation Outlook

The Global Innovation Outlook is an annual meeting coordinated by IBM; this is where the top innovators located on four continents discuss the latest trends and patterns of innovation around the world. The participants of the meeting come from a different industries ranging from education to aerospace. The GIO identifies potential opportunities in specific areas and how new innovative methods and technologies can be applied and most importantly integrated into them in the hope of creating faster and more efficient systems for consumers around the world (GIO,2006).

According to the GIO (2004) the very way in which the world thinks of innovation would have to be changed and remodeled; this can be done in three critical aspects:

  • Aspect 1: The process of innovation is in a state of constant and rapid growth and as a result geographical barriers are being brought down if not eliminated. Hence reducing the product life cycle from the time of invention to the point of market saturation where the demand for the product is low or non-existent.
  • Aspect 2: Collaboration is the key to the modern world. Present day situations may be too complex for one institution to tackle and therefore with a combination of talent, expertise and business models will be the new driving force in modern day innovation.
  • Aspect 3: The way in which organizations use intellectual property would need to be changed. Considering the fact that collaborative relationships would be set up; intellectual property should be looked as capital which can be jointly financed and more importantly jointly shared; this would be more beneficial to both parties when compared to companies which treat intellectual property more on terms of control of the overall final product.
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    5.3 Importance of collaboration in the innovation process

    As mentioned before in the previous section; collaboration is an important component of the innovation process. Collaboration can formed between other companies and also between educational or research based organizations. However according to Butner and Wilterding (2006) collaboration is most effective if it is carried out with customers. By collaborating with the customers the developers would be able to gain a better understanding of the requirements and would therefore be able to provide more effective solutions that would able to meet these needs. Collaboration with customers will also have a direct impact on reducing the time at which the product has been developed to the time at which it can be launched to the market. Figure 5.2 provides an insight of the level of impact of collaboration with customers when compared with other methods of operation.

    Collaboration can also be beneficial to both parties as the very process of collaboration will in turn reduce costs as they would be shared and increase customer satisfaction; another important aspect is the fact that both parties will be able gain access to key skills and expertise from both sides of the collaborative relationship (Butner and Wilterding, 2010). Figure 5.3 shows the percentage of responsiveness in different areas as a result of collaboration. In essence if the other party has specialized knowledge and expertise in a particular field which the other may lack; then forming a collaborative relationship can be extremely beneficial.

    Today IBM has many collaborative relationships in place; the report will now proceed to illustrate how IBM has been able to offer innovative solutions and form collaborative relationships with one selected company.

    Mayo Clinic

    Technology advancements in the field of medicine have progressed; as well as the amount data collected by medical institutions. Mayo Clinic is one of the world’s leading medical institutions in applied medical research and had shifted from a paper based patient file storage system to a electronic file storage system. The clinic has over 2000 physicians as well as scientists and the institute had built up a reputation for making use of cutting edge medical information technology (IBM, 2010).

    Although Mayo Clinic was making great strides with medical breakthroughs, the vision of implementing a system which would make use new advancements of medical information technology had its own share of obstacles. The first obstacle would be the overall complexity of the system as the institution has a vast number of patient records which accounts for over 6 million electronic patient records (IBM, 2010). Another crucial factor would be the security of the records; as patient confidentiality is a major aspect of any medical institution. The last obstacle would be that the system would have to be flexible; users of the system would be required to enter data at any point of time and make the system would also have to be effectively output the data to third party software that may be in use such as decision support systems.

    This is where IBM steps in; as the company possesses expertise in the field of technology integration and a background in healthcare systems as well as life sciences (IBM, 2010). Together a team was able to create a user friendly data virtualization which also includes a data query tool; this would enable researcher’s easy access to large quantities of patient data. The new system also makes use of ad-hoc query system which allows researchers to search the database with the use of medical terminology which would be known to them; this would prove to be extremely beneficial as the physicians would be able to get results on a real time basis and provide the patients with more quicker diagnosis of their symptoms (IBM, 2010).

    This innovative relationship has a lot of promise in the field of information-based medicine. Both sides are on the path of pursuing further enhancements in terms of the efficiency of the effectiveness of the treatments provided to all patients. In addition the new system would also aid researchers to a great extent as the speed of conducting analyses of vast amounts would be much faster and easier.

    6.0 Applications and opportunities for innovation in different industries

    IBM has been successful in providing innovative solutions to different industries. In this section the report will outline the possible economic opportunities for two selected industries as well as the possible obstacles that innovators may come across.

    6.1 Healthcare

    As previously stated with the example of collaboration; medical institutions around the world face complex problems with the implementation of vast number of patient records stored within their databases. By providing more powerful integrated patient record systems; the effects on efficiency will be boosted with more effective information flow systems. Currently a physician who would be required to analyze a combination of patient’s records documented by different doctors; the retrieval process would be a time consuming process. With an integrated system the doctor could access these records on a real time basis; this would also be beneficial for the patient as a proper diagnosis could be made faster (GIO, 2004). By eliminating the task of retrieving records from different file systems; the support staff would be able to allocate precious time and resources to other activities, which in the long run would boost productivity levels of the staff.

    The rapid progression of healthcare systems could also cross geographical boundaries; this was one major point of discussion at the Global Innovative Outlook. After thorough analysis of the current state of the healthcare systems in developing such as India and China; members of the meeting acknowledged the fact that providing new revolutionary and more importantly cost effective systems (GIO, 2004). Smaller most cost effective systems could be developed and sold to millions of medical institutions in Asia and other developing countries which therefore improve the local quality of medical services offered to the public.

    Another aspect is the need of educating doctors in medicine. To do this telemedicine would be the best method; with videoconferencing tools western based doctors could successfully observe and instruct doctors from the developing nations; this could even be carried out during surgeries on a real time basis. However as pointed out by GIO members (2004); the process of educating doctors may work in both directions. Doctors in west are beginning to use traditional forms of medicine which has been specialized in Asian nations and with the Telemedicine tool; doctors from the eastern countries could also educate doctors.

    The suggested economic opportunities would have to be conducted by forming and implementing collaborative relationships with other companies; this would beneficial in terms of financial returns as the sheer number of possible customer’s in this case medical institutions in developing nations would be very high and from a social aspect it would be more beneficial to the people as more efficient and possibly cost effective medical treatments could be made available to them.

    6.2 Government Services

    A government consists of many different departments and ministries which range from transport services to emergency services to law enforcement. Each department would make use thousands of records and the complexity in the case of transferring records to other departments is extremely high. Similar to the previous example with medical institutions; systems would have to be integrated to form a real time record access system. However, various government departments and ministries would make use of millions of records which would be spread across an entire country. A system would have to be developed to tackle this problem of complexity; however if the government were to collaborate with professional IT companies whose expertise could be used to develop the system (GIO, 2004).

    One of the major sectors for the government is the public transport sector. Discussions from the GIO (2006) revealed the fact that currently most public transport systems work independently and have little or no coordination with other transport sectors. One example would be the fact that the local train arrival and departures would not be scheduled in conjunction with other forms of public transport which could in the form of public buses or taxi services which operate under a common administration.

    If a new system; that could allow travel schedules to be optimized to work hand in hand with other segments could be implemented, commuters would be able to gain access to more efficient travel experiences which could possibly cut down travel times. RFID cards have been implemented into a handful of cities around the world; this allows commuters faster check in time and the possibility incorporating universal accounts within the cards which can be used for all forms of public transport (GIO, 2006). Another possible enhancement which could be incorporated would be the ability for commuters to check transport schedules on the mobile phones or through the internet; this could be further improved by enabling commuters to plot their expected travel plans which could be linked to the commuter RFID cards (GIO, 2006).

    7.0 Benefits of innovation

    In this section the report will now consider the potential benefits of innovation to a company. The innovation process allows companies to come up with new ideas for implementing strategies into existing and upcoming fields. Take the example of IBM’s innovation jam; a process that encourages employees of the company to provide their insights and ideas on various issues. By incorporating such ideas the company could take the ideas and convert them into strategies which could be implemented in markets worldwide. According to Bjelland and Wood (2008) the IBM innovation jam has been responsible for creating major new business opportunities for developers around the world. One such case would be in relation to companies who operate E-businesses; with new advancements in Web 2.0 technology IBM developers can now create services which would be more in line with the client’s specifications by providing custom applications to meet their business requirements. This offering is made available through IBM’s software and business units.

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    Another business was created as a result of the innovation jam which was previously mentioned in this report; is the creation of the electronic health care system. This system can integrate a large quantity of medical records and provide the users of the system real-time access to a number of records. Through innovation companies can provide solutions to new and complex problems.

    Innovation also allows companies to rethink strategies and the way in which they conduct operations. With the help of innovation; IBM was able to make amendments to their operations which involved redesigning the way in which the company controls their off shore enterprises. All branches in other countries would make use of a global integrated outlook which consists of a set of common processes and method carried out by a team of skilled employees (IBM,2009). Each base would shift their focus their attention towards building stronger relationships with customers by providing high-quality services and solutions. This strategy was implemented in 2005 and the results of the innovative change to operations were evident. According to IBM (2009); the company recorded a record cash flow performance in global financing receivables of an amount of $15.1 billion which is an increase of over $800 million from the previous financial year. The company credits their success to the new innovative model stating that the new model was more focused towards providing effective solutions which catered to the customer’s requirements and would therefore ensure better financial results .

    Innovation also encourages the formation of collaborative relationships. With collaboration in place both working parties would be able to combine their resources, knowledge and expertise towards a unified innovative process. Collaboration would allow new technologies to be developed and made available to global markets giving both parties a distinct competitive advantage for a substantial period of time considering the fact that the product would be a new innovation. One example would be in the area of unified communications; Cisco system is one of the leaders in providing advanced technological and networking solutions for consumers around the world (Cisco, 2010). Together IBM and Cisco were able to form a collaborative relationship which combined the strengths of IBM’s ability to carry out planning, implementation and management services with Cisco’s Unified telecommunication solutions. This collaboration allows both parties to provide flexible solutions for customers around the world (Rick McConnell and Bruce Morse).

    8.0 Drawbacks of innovation

    It is important to note that the process of innovation can also bring strong drawbacks to a company. One major drawback to innovation is the potential cost of failure. With most innovative projects the possibility of failure is always present. According to Clancy and Krieg (2003) major industries have stated that close to 80-90 percent of new products would be unsuccessful in the market and the traditional testing process in the market could cost over $ 3 million; the research and development cost would be a part of this figure. On average IBM invests over $ 6 billion on research and development projects (IBM, 2009). If the projects were to result in a failure; the firm would have lost valuable time and most importantly a significant amount of capital. Taking under consideration the fact that the current state of the global markets are just improving after the recently concluded global recession; firms would ill afford to lose large amounts of capital.

    Integration plays an important part in innovation. In order for innovation process to be successful; effective integration would have to take place. According to Dr. Dean Spitzer (2007) due to the complexity of the innovation process; integrated thinking would be required and the process of creative thinking may cause disputes within dedicated teams and in some cases such conflicts could lead to overall failure of creating unified solutions. Therefore it is essential that management overseas the whole creative thinking process to prevent the possibility of conflicts or disputes.

    9.0 Obstacles of innovation

    With innovation; come the obstacles. Each and every innovation project will face its own share of potential obstacles.

    The first obstacle is the fact that not every company would have the resources as well as capital in hand to invest in innovation programs (Klein and Knight, 2005). As previously stated; innovation projects require a significant amount of capital. Theses cost would include the research and development costs, training costs for employees and the actual cost of implementing the finished product. However the possibility of creating an innovative product for a company with limited resources cannot be ruled out; if the product has enough potential it could launch the firm and see a potential rise in sales.

    One major obstacle is in relation to new technological innovations. With any new technology; the developers would have to deal with the process of rectifying minor complications created with bugs in the product. This process of rectifying components of the product can be frustrating to the developers and could be very time consuming. Problems associated with the defects could be attributed towards the use of low quality materials and methods of development as well as lack of employee satisfaction (Klein and Knight, 2005).

    Issues related to management of the innovation process are another potential obstacle. The decision to implement a particular innovation project would be carried out by top level management. There is a possibility that the managers who would be directly responsible for overseeing the innovation and implementation process may be skeptical towards the project (Klein and Knight, 2005). The manager’s attitude is essential to the final result of the project; if the individual shows a lack of interest or satisfaction; other members of the team may also start to have doubt of the project. In order to prevent such a situation; upper level management should have more frequent communication with lower level managers and obtain their feedback on issues relating to the project; this could also be used a tool for motivating the staff which could have an immense impact on the outcome of the project.

    10.0 Conclusion

    Innovation is a crucial aspect for any company strategy. For some; innovation is the very essence of how firm’s conduct operations in markets; IBM is probably the greatest example. Innovation has redefined the way in which IBM conducts business; it has allowed them to venture into new markets with a wide range of new innovative products. It is important to note that collaboration also plays a major part in innovation; with collaboration knowledge and expertise from both sides can be combined and focused towards creating a unified innovative product. Collaboration would also allow both parties to share the cost as well as resources which could boost the development team’s time to successfully complete the product. However it is it crucial to note the fact that the cost and possibility of failure of the innovative products and services is always at hand. Firms inject millions of dollars into research and development projects and in the case of a failure; valuable time and money would be lost. With any form of innovation obstacles and road blocks are unavoidable. Especially in the case of a new technological innovation; it is essential that good quality materials are used in order to prevent the occurrences of defects and launch the products as scheduled without any delays. Overall the very process of innovation has been proven to be essential for any company and in some cases could prove to be the major contributor to a company’s success in the markets.

    11.0 References

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    IBM. (2004). GLOBAL INNOVATION OUTLOOK.

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    Osvald M. Bjelland and Robert Chapman Wood. (2008). An Inside View of IBM’s ‘Innovation Jam’.

    http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/files/saleable-pdfs/50101.pdf [20/03/2010]

    Dr. Dean Spitzer. (2007). Rethinking the measurement of Innovation.

    http://www.slideshare.net/elsua/ibm-iforum-rethinking-innovation-measurement-by-dean-spitzer [20/03/2010]

    Kevin J. Clancy and Peter C. Krieg. (2003). Surviving Innovation.

    http://www.copernicusmarketing.com/about/surviving_innovation.shtml [18/03/2010]

    Cisco. (2010). Corporate Overview.

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    Rick McConnell of Cisco and Bruce Morse. (2010). Cisco and IBM: Enhancing the Way People Work Through Unified Communications.

    http://www.busmanagement.com/article/Cisco-and-IBM-Enhancing-the-Way-People-Work-Through-Unified-Communications/ [20/03/2010]

    Katherine J. Klein and Andrew P. Knight. (2005). Innovation Implementation Overcoming the Challenge.

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    B4Tea. (2009). Using Mayo Clinic Symptom Checker to Check Medical Symptoms at MayoClinic.com.

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