This is the 2nd in a series about innovation coming from the Melco Forum where CONTEXT recently hosted a meeting of senior industry players
The mid-market is a special place for innovation, as we heard from Elena Montañes, country manager of CONTEXT Spain in her opening presentation to the Melco Forum this year. “In the mid-market you find ‘hidden champions’, a concept invented by Hermann Simon in the 1990’s in the book of the same name”.
At the Forum we had living proof of a hidden champion through the presence of Noemi Belenguer, the General Manager of Vogel’s in Spain. Vogel’s is a Dutch family owned company with a presence in 80 countries which started more than 40 years ago. It is in private hands still under the direction of a family member, Gerdi Vogels, the daughter of the founder. It is a global leader in its market of wall mounts, TV brackets and tablet holders and has a turnover of c100 million € and is present in 15,000 retail outlets.
“Innovation is one of the core values of the company” said Noemi, and it is one of the secrets to success in hidden champions, as Elena Montañes demonstrated showing the 6 pillars which Simon had identified:
- Restricted markets and a very focused approach
- Customer proximity
- Innovation – Base of success
- Competitive advantages
- Financing, organisation and business environment
This innovation should bring greater value to customers or lower costs. Imitation is not enough. It is also not restricted to product innovation and technology but also applies to processes and services. Customers are an important source of ideas and must be involved in the innovation process through a trust relationship. This is becoming a common practice through what is known as open innovation. The integration of market and technology is the driving force of innovation.