Managing Innovation

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An understanding of the concept of market scanning can be beneficial to any business manager becoming involved in the innovation process. Market scanning refers to recognising emerging or future markets, analysing your own target market for changes and looking for commercial opportunities. Market scanning not only helps you to identify opportunities, but to also recognise the potential threats to your business.

Your ability to recognise an emerging or potential future market can provide your business with a significant competitive advantage. It can provide you with the opportunity to be first to market with an innovative product and allow you to capitalise on a new market.

The best way to identify these opportunities is to look for new and emerging trends. Talking with as many different people as possible, especially your customers, can help you to notice changes in the market and trends that are increasing in possibility. Try not to limit yourself to the people you regularly associate with, as you'll need to expand and broaden the range of people you talk to in order to identify the best opportunities.

Scanning the Market

Analysing your current target market for changes can also help you to predict emerging trends. Look for sudden or unexpected increases or decreases in demand for your products and services. Identify and look into the reasons behind these changes and see if there is anything you can do to capitalise on gains or minimise losses.

Another benefit of market scanning is that it can help you to identify the threats to your business. The innovations that your competitors develop can have a significant impact on the success of your own business. Are there changes occurring in the market or new innovations that could make your product obsolete? If so, you'll need to come up with some innovative improvements from within your own business to remain competitive in the market.

Recognising the potential threats posed by the innovations of others is perhaps the most critical part of market scanning. Your competitors will ultimately aim to keep their ideas hidden for as long as possible and try to play off the benefits of being first to market. The sooner you realise that your business cannot remain stagnant for too long, the better you will be able to adapt and compete in a competitive market.