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Honing a Competitive Edge

By: Brian W. Budzynski and Jeff Falk
Posted: April 30, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

As part of its editorial focus, GCI magazine celebrates innovation in each issue. However, the May issue has become the forum for an annual appraisal of the nature and impact of innovation, and allows the opportunity to recognize companies and individuals whose choices, work and thinking will leave a deep and long-term impact on the industry. Innovation has become a powerful word across industries, and one that is in danger, if not already teetering on the edge, of becoming so frequently and haphazardly used that it loses concrete meaning. The word has been defined by what it must do in business terms—be a profitable improvement.

In the January 2007 issue, Michael Overstreet cites www.getfuturethink.com, which lays out eight basic underlying facets of innovation—including the implementation of new business models, the development of new brand experiences and the creation of new strategic partnerships. Overstreet notes, “the challenge for companies is to develop an innovation strategy that will allow them to compete and succeed in a constantly changing world,” and, “it comes from organizations that promote critical thinking and challenge traditional theory and practice.”

In 2009, GCI magazine would like to share brief appraisals of Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc.; the Monell Center; and Beiersdorf AG for your consideration of innovation.

Elevance is a company working to successfully bridge the renewables and chemicals industries by transforming natural renewable plant-based oils into specialty chemical products while transforming industrial science into a collaborative effort that takes its lead from nature.

The Monell Center is a nonprofit independent scientific institute dedicated to interdisciplinary basic research on the senses of taste, smell and chemosensory irritation. Its research is open. The connections its explorations reveal are indicative of the critical thinking that will propel the creation of products that intrigue the 21st century consumer.