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The smart way to innovate

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Without investing in innovation, you will always be susceptible to competition, but the right strategy requires time, funding and a process to create the innovation required for future growth, says PIERRE AUREL, Strategic Project Manager, e4.

That innovation is important and necessary for survival goes without saying. While there is no universal solution for organisations looking to improve their ability to generate, develop, and disseminate new ideas, some strategies are superior to others.

“The process of innovation should continuously introduce new value or benefits to your customer. If you’re not doing that, you can expect to be disrupted,” says Pierre Aurel, Strategic Project Manager, e4. “Without investing in innovation, you will always be susceptible to competition. The right strategy requires time, funding and a process to create the innovation required for future growth.”

Securing a competitive edge is one goal of innovation; the other is finding new markets as well, allowing a business to move both vertically and laterally across markets. Aurel notes that in order to future-proof themselves, organisations need to objectively evaluate their strengths and weaknesses before embarking on a strategy of innovation. “So instead of the tired old SWOT analysis, an evaluation of how well the business performs in three stages of innovation: Ideation, Creation and Diffusion. A business needs to understand its own internal dynamics first and ultimately where it wants to go.”

An innovation value chain offers a comprehensive framework for doing just that. By breaking innovation down into the three phases of idea generation, conversion, and diffusion, the strategy encourages organisations to look at ways to improve their weaker areas first, either through collaboration, outsourcing or acquisition. Aurel points at Google’s approach to managing the innovation process and budget allocation operating on the 70/20/10 model. “70 percent of projects are dedicated to core business, 20 percent of projects are related to core business, and 10 percent of projects are unrelated to core business. This staggered approach ensures they are able to keep the lights on while searching for the next breakthrough.”

Crucially, businesses should look at innovation as a long-term process rather than a knee-jerk reaction to a changing environment.  A helpful starting point is listening to customers and beginning the innovation process from there. “Customer centricity is key, so talk to your customers, listen to their needs and views.  Don’t create an exclusive innovation team that operates in isolation. If they are not collaborating with the rest of your organisation, it’s a major problem,” Aurel explains adding that innovation shouldn’t be the exclusive function of one team or executive, rather it should be inclusive, transparent and allow ideas to come from anyone. “Don’t shoot down ideas without using some metric or model to validate the potential of the idea,” he says.

To be sure, finding the right balance for innovation to succeed is a challenging prospect for organisations. Aurel suggests looking for external help while ensuring the innovation process is funded and staffed appropriately.  “I think every organisation has the ability to be innovative. Partner with a company in a different industry and create an innovation exchange programme. Swap employees for a couple of days, let them become immersed in different world – their new perspectives and opinions may surprise you.”

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Smash hits the Nintendo Switch

Super Smash Bros. delivers what the fans wanted in the latest “Ultimate” instalment, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the latest addition to the popular Nintendo Smash series, has landed on the Nintendo Switch with a bang, selling 5-million copies in the first week of its release. The game has been long-anticipated since the console’s release, as many fans consider iy to be a Nintendo staple. And the wait was well worth it.

It features 74 playable fighters, 108 stages, almost 1300 Spirit characters to collect while playing, and a single-player Adventure mode that took about three days (or 28 hours) of gameplay to complete. The game offers far more gameplay than its predecessors, making it the Smash game that gives its players the best bang for their buck.

For those new to the game, the goal is to fight opponents and build up their damage score (draining their health) to knock them off the stage eventually. This makes the game seem chaotic, as many players jump around the platforms as if they were on quicksand, in order to avoid being hit by the other players.

It also services two kinds of players: the competitive and the casual.

Competitive players can be matched on the online service by skill ranking to enjoy playing with similarly high-skilled opponents. This is especially important in e-sports training for the game, and for players wanting to master combos against other human players. The casual gamer is also catered for, with eight-player chaos and button-mashing to see who comes out luckiest. This segment is also important for those wanting to learn how to play.

Training mode is also a place to go for those learning to play. It offers “CPU” players that are graded by intensity to train as a single player to learn a character’s moves, combos and general fighting style. More challenging CPU players can also be used by competitive players to train when there isn’t a Wi-Fi connection available.

Direct Play features in this game, allowing two players with two Switch consoles to play against each other over a direct connection – no Wi-Fi needed. This is especially useful to those who want to have a social gaming element on the go, similar to that of the cable connector of the Gameboy.

Click here to read Bryan Turner review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

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Win Funko Fortnite in Vinyl

Gadget and Gammatek have nine Funko Fortnite figurines to give away.

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A Funko Pop figurine based on a character set is indicative of reaching the heights of pop culture. It is no surprise, then, that the world’s biggest online game, Fortnite, has its own line of Funko Pop figurines. The Funkos are modeled on the characters in game, including Drift, Ragnarok, Dark Vanguard, Volar, Tracera Ops, and Sparkle Specialist.

Now, local Funko distributor Gammatek has released the Fortnite figurines in South Africa. To celebrate, Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to each of three readers (9 figurines in total). To enter, first click on your favourite Funko Pop on the next page and post the Tweet that appears. Then, follow Gadget on Twitter.

You can put the tweet in your own words, but entries must have the competition’s hashtag (#FunkoFortnite) and mention @GadgetZA to be considered valid.

Click here to select the Funko Fortnite character you want to tweet.

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