1 Innovation – a process of searching, experimenting and learning. 5
2 The role of research in innovation and new technology. 9
3 Different technologies in business. 12
This paper discusses the very early stages of a project being conducted at IBM research to explore how different rule technologies might be combined or enhanced to offer powerful business solutions.
People apply many meanings to the term “business rules.” In its simplest form, a business rule is any statement that can be put in the form of “if then”. Business rules can be implemented in a computer program by programming if-then statements in-line. This is very efficient performance-wise, but you have to know exactly what rules need to be place where. If the rules change at a later time, there can be high costs of maintenance. This approach also lends toward inconsistency because people create or change rules without a full understanding of all of the rules or how they might interact.
Over the past 30 years, many patterns and technologies have grown up around the development, management, and execution of business rules. Some of these include case-based reasoning, externalized/componentized of these categories (i.e., they include hybrid functionality).
This report aims to give a brief summary of what we have learned about the ways in which research-based competence contributes to innovation and new technology. It also describes how the competence base of innovation can be strengthened by policy measures which support an interaction between business and research.
Innovation is the process by which new products, processes, methods or services are created. Innovation offers added value for end users by providing better and/or cheaper functionality than previous options. Innovation combines changes in technology, business models, organisation etc. The basic idea may be a new technical solution, a new business model or a change in organisation. More often than not, however, changes in all aspects are required in order to realise the full potential.
In a competitive economy, no business can survive long term without updating its products and services or the ways in which they are produced or delivered. Innovation policy must promote renewal across all business sectors and not just focus on high tech industries.
Since most innovations are complex and each subsystem has its own limitations, an important part of the innovation process is finding the right balance between conflicting demands. In most cases, there are several possible ways of providing a new function to users, or possible applications of a new technology. Which combination of features the market will prefer cannot be predicted with any certainty. The ultimate value of an innovation is also built through adaptation and improvement, often accumulated over decades. Whether the origin was a market opportunity or a new technological capability, innovation can best be thought of as an iterative, experimental search process.
Innovation integrates knowledge from a number of different fields: technology, market, design, economics etc. It is hard to collect all the necessary competences in a single organization. The costs are high, competence quickly become outdated, and the company misses opportunities to learn from a broader set of experiences. Thus, innovation has become a process of constant interaction; with current or future customers, with suppliers and competitors, with consultants and with academic researchers.
“Innovation systems” is our way of summarising the patterns of interaction and mutual dependence we observe between businesses and public actors. The capacity to innovate depends on how well different parts of this system are adapted to each other and how well they work together.
Historically, new technology was developed on the basis of practical experience. A scientific understanding of how and why a technology works has often paved the way for later improvements, but was not always necessary for the original innovation. Today, the relationship between science and innovation is more complex and interdependent.