A new demonstration gearing solutions factory in Fellback, Germany, will continuously interlink machines, product equipment and semi-finished products via the Internet – so that specification of a gearwheel can be altered at the last minute.
The interlink process will be integrated into a “thinking” production operation known as cyber-physical systems. This will contribute towards securing the future of Germany’s industrial base.
Another innovation of the gearing solutions factory is that it has been designed to integrate into a densely populated urban environment. Eco-relevant issues such as noise, flue gas, waste, CO2 emissions, water and effluent as well as energy consumption are minimised.
This modern factory may be far removed from the everyday reality of small retail, service and manufacturing businesses in South Africa. Yet local business people need to be just as innovative in their thinking to thrive in this economy, especially businesses that export.
Where do new ideas come from? Without people, there are no ideas. How are ideas formed? An idea results from combinations, associations, connections and recombinations people make in their brains during conscious or unconscious thinking.
How do people come up with ideas? People can produce ideas through their activities or experience in their business, interviews with customers and suppliers and even while enjoying sports, movies or walking on the beach.
Studies have shown that the more ideas people produce, the greater the opportunity for producing a promising idea. This is why techniques for idea generation such as brainstorming have been so popular over the past several decades.
Many techniques have been designed to assist with idea generation: redefine the problem, lateral thinking, Blue Ocean Strategy, TRIZ based innovation, the 20-Idea Method, freewriting and Fusion Cards – to name a few.
These idea generation methods not only help with bringing about new ideas but also assist in reimagining a product that has failed, breathing new life into old products, imitating an existing product in a more innovative way or finding new uses for an existing product.
Ideas remain simply ideas until they are selected, developed, tested and implemented. Initial ideas and concepts need to be selected against market criteria such as potential demand (purchasing intent) and ability to generate revenue or income (business value).
Your promising new business ideas are a vital source of innovation for your present and future business growth. Coming up with ideas is not as difficult as capturing lightening in a bottle. That is the fun and exciting part. But real work begins when you refine, develop, implement and commercialise an idea. In short, the difference between dreamers and entrepreneurs.