As explained in this article, we at GSVI have separated the Innovation Scouting process, in which we support and guide our clients, into three categories:
Cross-Industry Innovation is the approach to apply inspirations from another industry to one’s own with its related thought processes. This can either occur purely in the context of knowledge transfer between the industries, where knowledge about specific solutions in other industries is applied to existing problems in one’s own. It is however also possible for people from different disciplines, industries and companies to cooperate with each other and combine each other’s specific knowledge in order to create new innovation.
This is where Cross-Industry Scouting comes into play. As the past years have shown, it is no longer sufficient for companies to only look at their own industry or product segment to create new innovations and consequently, only have expertise in one industry. In order to stay relevant and to keep up or even create disruptive innovation rather than only incremental change, companies have to look further and gain inspirations from other places, facilitating Cross-Industry Innovation.
To be able to do that, it is however necessary to find the right industry, technologies and business models to look for and to assess, which is the best engagement strategy, knowledge transfer or cooperation. This is why normally companies work together with specialised Innovation Scouting firms such as GSVI, who will support them in this process and give those companies the opportunity to benefit from their extensive market knowledge and business network. This is one of the great advantages that GSVI has, with partners that are part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem and have contacts covering many different industries.
There are many prominent examples of successful Cross-Industry innovations in the past. The most famous one is probably that of Ford, where its found Henry Ford was inspired by the meat industry to apply the assembly line in the automobile industry. Another more current is that of the health-care industry which is looking strongly towards consumer electronics to integrate mobile, app-centric models for exchanging real-time patient data with healthcare providers. Another area that is often smiled upon, but which does not make it any less relevant is the entertainment industry, more specifically the genre of Science Fiction. Shows such as Star Trek have inspired products such as the mobile phone and the tablet computer.
The benefits of cross-industry scouting are obvious. Not only can cooperation and knowledge transfer lead to the development of innovative new products & services, but it can also help in creating new or adjusting existing processes, to discover new cost saving and optimisation methods, inspire solutions to supply chain questions and many more. It is up to you to reap these benefits and capitalise on expert knowledge regarding new opportunities for your company.
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