Innovation within the business context is the creation of new ideas the context of known constraints. It’s about exploiting a gap, an observed gap in the market, through the development of a new product or service that fulfils that gap.

It requires the application, implementation and exploitation of these ideas to deliver an intended business result, be it new customers, new markets, bigger margins or gaining a competitive advantage.

Further Information

The three types of innovation which people usually associate with are…

  • Service innovations such as the introduction of internet banking or credit cards.
  • Product innovations such as smart phones/watches and tablets.
  • Process innovations such as new manufacturing process that are needed to produce these new products.

There are two more often forgotten types of innovation, which are:

  • Business model innovation which is about making changes in how the company creates value for its customers and how the company captures the value from the innovation, an example of this would be Amazon, the internet bookstore.
  • Organisational innovation involves fundamental changes in practices, processes, and structure of how the activities within the business are managed. Examples are lean manufacturing, outsourcing, and supply chain.

There are also different levels of innovation.

Incremental Innovation (most common) – This type of innovation is about doing something that businesses are already good at, but making further incremental improvements.  An example of this would be the changes to the iPod; making it thinner, improving screen resolution etc. Companies, in general, are very good in incremental innovation.

Radical innovation (quite rare) – Radical innovation doesn’t happen frequently, but it does happen. An example of this would be the invention of internet, and introduction of internet, which actually created, almost, a new revolution.

Disruptive innovation – This type of innovation isn’t always better immediately but we see improvements in the long term, this can create challenges for some businesses because they’re inclined to ignore this technology and therefore can never adapt quickly enough. As example of this would be the invention of digital technology and the negative impact it had on Kodak and is core capabilities, despite Kodak being a part of this invention. This type of innovation generally starts out in a niche market.

Useful Links

Catapult Network are a network of world-leading technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK to support businesses in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services.

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. They are tasked to work with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.

Innovate UK Blog – Top Tips for Aspiring Inventors

Innovate UK video – Innovate UK’s Essential Grant Funding Tips for Startups & SMEs

Innovate UK Edge complements Innovate UK project funding with intensive, specialist-led support for ambitious businesses.

Intellectual Property Office operates the intellectual property system in the UK covering copyright, patents, designs and trade marks.

Knowledge Transfer Network support businesses in their innovation journey, including identifying strategic goals and innovation pathways. You can also search their events calendar.


To find out how the Growth Hub can help your business, contact our team today on 03456 047 047 or use our online form

business-support-icon-60px-01Business support programmes

    • East Devon Innovation and Resilience Fund
    • East Devon
    • For businesses that primarily operate and trade within East Devon, the Innovation and Resilience Fund scheme allows businesses and organisations to apply for funding to deliver a project.
    • Read more
    • Net Zero Innovation Fund (Devon)
    • Devon
    • The Devon Net Zero Innovation fund is in place to enable collaborations between Devon enterprises and University of Plymouth academic researchers. The aim is to help Devon enterprises to develop new products or services for the low carbon sector, with funding of up to £7,500 per enterprise.
    • Read more
    • SETsquared Exeter
    • SETsquared Exeter creates an inspiring innovation culture among high-tech businesses. We are a community of entrepreneurs who enable regional creators, innovators and disruptors to grow and develop business ideas.
    • Read more
    • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)
    • Devon and Somerset
    • The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.
    • Read more
    • Innovate UK Smart Grants
    • Devon and Somerset
    • Opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy. The funding competition closes on Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 11am.
    • Read more
    • European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications
    • Devon and Somerset
    • The vision of ESA Business Applications is to improve the lives of people on Earth through Space. We make this possible by enabling and supporting businesses in the short-term commercialisation and application of Space data and technology for everyday services.
    • Read more
    • Plymouth Materials Characterisation Project (PMCP)
    • Devon
    • Thanks to European Funding, PEMC is able to offer 40 Devon businesses free use of the FIB-SEM and their Technical Specialists, to aid their company, using an R&D approach to new product development.
    • Read more
    • Impact Lab - Devon
    • Devon
    • The Impact Lab provides deep technical assistance to Devon SMEs that have a big data and/or environmental future opportunity to address in order to grow to the next level. This is achieved through a substantial package of fully funded support which will be tailored to the need of your business and project.
    • Read more
    • Innovate UK
    • Devon and Somerset
    • If you want to develop an innovative product, process or service, you may be able to apply for funding of between £25,000 and £10 million through Innovate UK.
    • Read more
    • PATLIB UK - Intellectual Property Information Centre
    • Plymouth
    • Plymouth PatLib is based in Plymouth Central Library and is part of a national network of Intellectual Property (IP) Information Centres supported by the Intellectual Property Office. (IPO)
    • Read more
    • Business & Intellectual Property Centre (Exeter and Barnstaple Library)
    • Devon
    • Exeter Library is part of the Business and Intellectual Property Centre network. As a Business and Intellectual Property Centre they follow a programme and ethos developed by Business and Intellectual Property Centre at the British Library, London, providing support to business owners, entrepreneurs and inventors.
    • Read more
    • Innovate UK EDGE
    • Devon
    • Innovate Edge UK is the Innovation Agency's resource for innovative SME's from any sector who are ambitious to grow further and scale. It complements Innovate UK project funding with intensive, specialist-led support for ambitious businesses.
    • Read more
    • University of Plymouth – Enterprise Solutions
    • Devon
    • Plymouth Universities Enterprise Solutions offers a wide range of support to businesses. Enterprise Solutions is your gateway to accessing Plymouth University’s expertise, talent and facilities. Their aim is to give you the support you need, when you need it.
    • Read more

icon-events-60pxEvents and workshops

    • SW Innovation Expo
    • 14 October 2021
    • Held at Sandy Park, Exeter on 14th October 2021, the SW Innovation Expo will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and investors for panel discussions, an interactive technology expo, Pitchfest competition and plenty of networking opportunities.
    • Read more

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