Digital Innovation

Also known as Digitalisation or Digital Transformation, Digital Innovation is about redesigning your business to serve your customers better, starting with a deep understanding of your customer needs and your value stream and then using new technology to improve the customer experience. 

“Remember to think big, but start small and build on success”

Some guiding principles; 

  • Consider all aspects of customer value – from the experience, to the product or service to how you develop and deliver value from your supply chain right through to your customers. In reviewing your Customer value stream, seek out and remove waste – in terms of wasted effort, materials, time or wasted talent.
  • Focus on Measurement & Data – seek to understand what data actually drives customer value and ultimately the business. By understanding the key data indicators and optimising the processes that drive customer value, opportunities for digital automation become clear.
  • Start with small changes and improvements. Innovation is not all about disruption, but about building a culture where suggesting and implementing changes is the norm. In that way, when there is a disruption required, the fear of change is gone. Involve ALL staff in improvement and innovation activities. This ensures engagement and unleashes the energy and talent of your team to solve customer problems in an open, structured and ultimately profitable way.
  • Approach new technologies as potential sources of new value rather than just costs. When introducing any new technologies, focus on adaptable tools that are easy for your team to change and adjust on a continuous basis as your needs evolve - don’t get caught with inflexible systems.

1. Plan your Digital Journey2. Optimise your Business3. Digital Transformation
Understand your Digital Innovation PotentialCreate a culture of continuous improvement and innovationReinvent your business for the Digital world

1. Plan your Digital Innovation Journey

Complete the Digital Ready Scorecard which will give you an overview of your current digital readiness along key themes. This is a short exercise but useful to create awareness and get the discussion started within your organisation.

Do some reading and research. Key resources available from Enterprise Ireland include our Market Research Centre and our online client learning platform (eiLearn). Talk to your Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser to discuss your needs.

There is no substitute for getting an expert in to look at your business firsthand, someone who will spend time with you to look at your current processes and guide you to uncover the activities which add customer value and those which don’t. Identifying key performance indicators that measure customer value and putting in place measurement systems will lay down the foundations for your Digital Innovation journey.

Enterprise Ireland can fund a Digital Discovery Grant to cover up to 80% of a 7 day consultancy engagement (to the value of €5,000). Eligible projects should consider:

  • Skills assessment, culture of innovation, digital mind-set in the company
  • Process flow efficiency in the operations (Lean & Digital)
  • Opportunities to deliver new value-added digital services or products
  • Use of digital systems to measure and reduce energy, emissions, and waste
  • Review of cyber-security strategy and processes

2. Optimise your Business

It is time to build your internal capability to Innovate and to take on some projects that will increase customer value through reduced defects, improved delivery times and better customer service. The objective now should be to develop a culture of continuous improvement and innovation within the company. Identify some champions within the business who could lead, coach and support your staff to get engaged in change. Only after your key processes are well understood you can bring in digital tools to really accelerate your business delivery. This is key as failures most often stem from (a) a lack of staff engagement and (b) rushing into technology solutions before you really understand the issues you are trying to solve.

Enterprise Ireland can help fund the cost of an improvement programme.

  • Our LeanPlus programme can be used to offset salary costs for up to 10 project team members alongside the cost of external expertise to a maximum grant of €50,000 (50% of eligible costs).
  • For larger Innovation projects, our Digital Process Innovation offer can be used to support project costs. Maximum support is still at 50%, but with grants of up to €150,000.
  • We offer support for Capital Investment projects for SMEs (10-30% depending on location and size). This covers capital investment in new production equipment and systems.
  • For larger programmes, our LeanTransform programme can be used to support training costs for your staff – covering Leadership, Lean/Process & new technologies with grants of up to 50-70%

3. Digital Transformation

What was competitive yesterday may not be good enough tomorrow. Not only must companies constantly improve and optimise their businesses, but they should be on the lookout for transformational opportunities. These opportunities may be as a result of new or more widely available technologies or could involve pivoting to new business models to bring value to customers in a new way.

When you are ready to reinvent your business, we can help.

  • We have a suite of grant supports to help reduce the cost of development of new or improved products, services or technical processes. These include Exploring Innovation for feasibility studies, Agile Innovation for smaller projects or Research & Development for projects costing more than €300k. We also have support for collaboration with 3rd level colleges (starting with our Innovation Voucher)
  • Sometimes the opportunity goes beyond the products to a transformation of your entire business model or to the development of new operating models. Our Digital Process Innovation offer can be used to support a team to develop new ways of working.