If creativity is a good idea then innovation is putting that good idea to use. Within the business world this will generally relate to renewing, changing or creating more effective processes, products or ways of doing things. While there are many other aspects to a successful business and there is wide range of disciplines required to achieve business excellence, it does not hurt to start with a really good idea. If innovation is an integral part of the business plan and culture, the business owner and their workforce can work together with an expectation that change is part of the environment.

For any number of reasons when businesses have a good idea these may go unnoticed. These reasons could include the idea may be commercially sensitive, the business may be in the embryonic stage, the owners may be self-deprecating or they may not know what they are doing is even innovative. However everyday in Northland there are people using really good ideas to transform what businesses do and how they do it. It is important because putting a good idea to use can grow businesses, increase household incomes and create employment.

Following on from the success of last year’s Innovate Northland Celebrating a Great Idea, this year with the support of Northland Inc and a number of other key supporters we will once again acknowledge these good ideas and the innovation associated with them. We want to celebrate Northland enterprises that are changing what products and services they deliver, how it is delivered and to whom. To do this we are seeking community support to identify those businesses in Northland who are doing things a little bit differently. If you know of a business that have a great idea that is adding value to primary produce, doing business not in the usual way or introducing a unique product or service to the market, we would like you to contact use over the next month and let us know who they are.

This year we will be incorporating Innovate Northland within the Westpac Northland Business Excellence Awards as a category in its own right. It will be run in tandem with the traditional entry process with a special evening to announce the finalists and then the overall winner of this category being announced at Awards Gala Evening in October. The stories these businesses can tell can inspire others to develop their good ideas, meet unmet needs and change the perception that many outside our region have of us.

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