Many of the people we talk to in companies have been, to put it politely, ‘around the block a few times’. Interesting lives lived and much experience and expertise gathered along the way. They are still doing new things and driving their business forwards.
Yet they have been persuaded by ‘professional advisers’ that what they do is not innovative. They are experienced and are really good at what they do and especially good at finding new ways to use current tools to find a solution to their own, or their client’s problems.
The ‘professional advisers’ say that such work is not innovative and so dissuade them from applying for the great reward scheme offered by the government through the Research and Development Tax Credit scheme.
In some cases their advice is correct. If you are merely applying a known set of tools and experience to predictably deliver a new solution, then that is not innovation but the application of acquired skills.
However, take a slightly different circumstance where you think you can solve the problem, but it requires some investigation, a new approach, or putting some existing items together in a different way with uncertain outcomes, then that may well be classified as innovative.
People, skilled and experienced people, like you are innovating like this all the time – they have done is so often it seems like ‘business as usual’. But it is innovation with experience that produces new solutions for your company and its clients. It is the source of wealth that keeps Britain Great.
Experience comes with age. Not by doing the same thing over and over, but by continuing to push the boundaries and apply all that you have learned along the way. Those experiences are likely to lead you to new methods more quickly than a younger person who has not yet learned all the ways that do not work in the way that you have.
Have a look at the article referenced below and then rethink the advice you have been given. You really should be claiming all you can for your innovation so you can grow your innovative efforts for the benefit of your company and UK plc.
Butler, Basford and Lord
Experts in Research & Development Tax Credits for Innovative Businesses