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Cross-Industry Innovation: How to find solutions from other industries?

Almost every day, we see some company, a giant, specializing in its own domain, stuck in a bit of a pickle. The pickle could be some trouble with its research, its product optimization, or any other area which might be hindering the company and its products/research from reaching its full potential. At times, the company may fall short of what to innovate next, and for the woes of such companies, cross-industry innovation is a remedy.

What is Cross-Industry Innovation?

Cross-industry innovation is a method to look for innovation outside your core domain, industry, or area of expertise. You find analogous industries that are solving problems similar to yours or have already solved that problem. Pyramiding searching is a technique that can help you find analogous industries.

Companies sometimes struggle while solving a research problem for which the solution can be easily adopted. This challenge often comes up because of the uneasy process of locating solutions from nearby or distantly related industries.

Before we talk more about it, the critical question is –How to decide if you should be looking for a solution from another industry?

A clear deciding point is – if the problem lies in your core competency area, you should be researching it, and if it lies in the non-core area then a solution can be adopted from the companies that are having such technology as their core competency.

Why does a company require cross-industry innovation?

Since we discussed when the need for cross-industry innovation may arise, it is also important to know what this strategic step has in store for you.

  • Not only will your business have a competitive edge, but you can see your business in a new light. This means old problems but new solutions.
  • Your risk of stumbling upon a not-so-great idea reduces because you can study the insights and work on the research of other industries.
  • Innovation in the true sense is brought to life, which is beneficial not only for your business but for all the involved domains.

Cross-Industry Innovation Example

Realizing the future of cross-innovation, GreyB got a chance to work on various such cases. What was the case? What was the outcome? Well, let us share one with you. 

In the case of tobacco domain companies, we identified that they have spent a good amount of research effort on resolving the issue of power management in an e-cigarette. The image represents the amount of innovation from some of the top players (company names not shared to maintain anonymity).

The numbers represent the number of patents filed by them. Not much stress needs to be laid on the interest of these companies to solve the challenge of power management. All they want is to increase the life of e-cigarettes after being charged, which is a big problem for them as it is inconvenient for the customers to charge them again and again.

We think that you have clearly deduced by now that power management or increasing battery life of the device is new ground for big cigarette brands. Therefore, seeking a solution from different industries to their problem can turn out to be a good strategy.

In this particular case-solving, such a challenge is a core competency of battery manufacturing companies or companies that have already solved this problem in other consumer electronics devices. We believe by sharing this, no sorcerer’s spells were revealed!

But then why is exploring solutions from within other industries less prevalent. The reason is not awareness but the untidy path that leads to locating favorable solutions in an unrelated domain. We both can agree on this – it is not as easy as said to locate solutions in unrelated industries, relating them to the problem/challenge in your industry, and then porting them to make it work in your environment. But no more, it is as difficult as it was earlier.

Why GreyB is the safest bet to find Cross-Industry Innovation?

We have worked with many companies to solve such types of technology scouting puzzles and have helped them in reaching out to solutions from different industries.

In the above-listed example of e-cigarette manufacturers, we helped a company to explore and evaluate technologies and solutions developed by some battery manufacturers and some handheld device manufacturers that can be adopted by them.

It not only helped cigarette manufacturers quickly to quickly shift focus to designing a better e-cigarette but also helped in changing their research strategy and shifting research effort to other research areas.

In another case, when we were working with a car manufacturer helping their R&D team find a solution to a problem, the desired solution was identified in the aviation industry and the portability of that solution in the environment of a car manufacturer was not a big challenge. Doing so helped the carmaker to quickly shift the focus to the implementation side, rather than spending the time researching one from scratch.

Since such types of situations are becoming more frequent with the increasing amount of research and tons of solutions being developed across the globe in a variety of industries, our researchers ease your task of finding the right domain for your business. We perform extensive research to study your problem points and then you have a detailed report that covers potential startups for collaboration as well. What are you waiting for! Discover opportunities before your competitors.

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Author: Annie Sharma, Marketing team

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