SIAD has teamed up with the University of Bergamo in a special collaborative study, specifically aimed at finding ways to enhance the innovation process of industrial companies.
Innovation was described as “vital” by both Eric Romano, International Marketing at SIAD, and Daniela Andreini, Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Bergamo, with both underlining that the collaborative study was intended to plant seeds in order for innovation to grow.
When asked why schemes like this are a necessity for our industry, Romano remarked, “At SIAD, we think the lagging growth our industry has experienced over the past few years is self-explanatory. We believe the industry’s ability to grow consumption is directly linked to the ability to innovate and introduce new solutions for customers.”
“For us, it’s not just about creating the output of innovation like a new application or an improved process, but we focused on how we can improve the entire process that gets us to that final result. In other words, we want to put ourselves in the best condition to generate innovation in future years,” he explained.
The research was a win-win situation for both the industrial gas corporation and the University of Bergamo, with Andreini explaining that the University experienced both scientific gain by working on a real-life scenario rather than a theoretical situation, as well as accomplishing its main social goal of contributing to improving the fabric of the region’s industrial territory.
The scheme aimed to identify the best practices that SIAD’s Marketing Department could put into place to generate product innovation, process innovation and application innovation.
Both disruptive and incremental innovation were explored with three main innovation drivers taken into account:
The study analysed industry best industry practices on a global level and contemporarily assessed SIAD’s current degree of implementation for each driver. The final output resulted in a series of recommendations and suggested actions that could enhance the Marketing Department’s contribution towards company-wide innovation.
Good practices that were identified included regular interdepartmental meetings with a specific focus on new ideas and innovation, close physical proximity with colleagues from other departments to help sprout innovation, strong relationships with customers to help test future innovations, and an ‘innovation review board’ set up to regularly monitor innovation project developments.
Whilst the initial goal of the study was to focus solely on SIAD’s Marketing Department, it became evident that innovation cannot be confined to just one function of an industrial company; rather, it’s a company-wide commitment.
Andreini echoed, “Innovation, and how to create innovation, such as the practices and processes that companies must realise in order to realise innovation, is vital for companies – particularly those in the gases industry that are used to dealing with product innovation.”
“Innovation is not only invention and companies cannot expect innovation to start from customary practices alone; it is the result of a structured process and a focused approach,” she added.
Going forward, SIAD believes that the healthcare, food and environmental sectors are the areas that are ripe for innovation from an industrial gas perspective.
Romano explained, “These areas are directly linked to the macro-trends our societies are experiencing and they will all characterise people’s lives in the coming decades. Gases are helpful in the healthcare industry to support an ever-ageing population, they help preserve food by increasing shelf life and reducing waste, and they are crucial in protecting the environment and reducing human footprint with applications like water depuration processes and environmental monitoring technologies.”
“In one such example and thanks to a recent innovation from our research and development (R&D) centre, SIAD is proposing to blow gases into soil to speed up the cleaning and regeneration process from hydrocarbon pollution. This is a prime example of our innovation in environmental applications.”
He concluded by stating, “Fundamentally, innovation is going to drive our growth. As Italians, we are very flexible, adaptive and creative; the innovation that we normally generate is via creativity. This is why it is clear for us that putting a methodological approach in place can boost our innovation capabilities.”