Keywords: innovation, networks, information sharing, linkages, users, innovation cycle, complementary assets, medical equipment
Innovation and new product development in the UK medical equipment industry
This research examined the Innovation Process for 34 UK medical equipment innovations developed by 11 companies, 26 through multiple and continuous interaction between the entrepreneurs and other actors in networks. There were ten stages identified in the innovation cycle and the effective management ensured opportunities for sustainable cost advantage and/or product or process differentiation at the different stages in the cycle. The networking enabled both outside and inside product champions to flourish within a learning process consisting of learning by doing, learning by using and learning by interaction. The speed and flexibility of the innovation process was enhanced by an overlapping approach at the different stages and the sharing of intense and rich information, the latter being enabled through linkages within the organization and with the accumulated knowledge embedded in society and with research. For successful innovation, the integration of the activities of the actors in the network, the management of the sequential learning process, the adoption of an overlapping approach, the linking to knowledge in society, using complementary assets and creating credibility in the innovations was seen as essential.