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Innovation, innovation, innovation… this has been the watchword over the past few decades, ever since manuals on the subjects of economics and management associated the word “innovation” with developed nations and dynamic, competitive economies.

It is a fact that innovation has always existed, not only in modern societies but over the course of human history. However, towards the middle of the 20th century, the word started to gain new facets and greater importance, especially with regards to corporate activity.

From the early days of Schumpeter, then Peter Drucker of the famous Oslo Manual and the Frascati Manual, including the European Commission’s Green Book of Innovation, and the major discussions at OCDE surrounding Knowledge-based economies…, there have been many landmark moments over the past few years.

The linear innovation model changed to a chain innovation model, then an interactive model, until we arrived at the conclusion that most models are disruptive and mix several dynamics, stages, processes, and interactions.

Could it be said that innovation can be a “hybrid”, “mixed”, or “amalgamous”, encompassing various activities, skills, and interactions? I’ll leave that one for you to answer…

Over the past few years, several discussion forums have enshrined “innovation” as “the way forward” for any company wishing to remain alive and competitive. This is true to such an extent that one of the biggest innovation projects in the world (the nuclear fusion reactor that promises clean, limitless energy and that could lead to a shift in the energy paradigm on Earth) is called “ITER”, which is Latin for “the way”.

In 2001, Steve Jobs uttered the famous words, “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” and we are well aware of what Apple has achieved in terms of innovation worldwide.

This leads us to the strategic pathway that organizations and companies must set out, focusing on creating value for the market; innovation is only effective if it has market value. That is what distinguishes inventions from innovation.

In management circles, it is said that companies that have an innovation department have not fully grasped that innovation cannot, and must not, be compartmentalized. Innovation is only effective, or rather, a company can only achieve the status of innovator if innovation takes place across the board.

This is definitely the case, but it does not mean that the process cannot be organized in some way and that at least some procedures can be organized in a specific department; obviously, such a department must be very open and have communication lines to other departments.

Naturally, if innovation is not accepted in its fullest sense by the board of directors, as well as by the various different departments and employees at the company, simply having a shiny R&D or innovation department and assigning it a handsome budget will be of no use…

It is interesting to recall the famous words by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature: “Some men see things as they are and ask, ‘Why?’. I dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’”

Innovation, innovation, innovation… it looks like it is here to stay and will continue to be the watchword for anyone wanting a foothold on the PSI20, the Dow Jones, the DAX, the NASDAQ, the CAC40, or any other world market.

This is what we have been doing at ISQ for over 50 years. We create value by developing innovative products and services and placing them at the service of companies, with a special focus on industry. Whether in Conventional or Renewable Energies, in the field of Hydrogen, in the Aeronautical and Aerospace sector, in Process Industries, in Oil & Gas, Infrastructure, or even Agriculture, Life Sciences and Health Care, ISQ always focuses on innovation as its guiding principle.

Pedro Matias, assumed the Presidency of the Board of Directors of ISQ in March 2017.

Master in Economics and Science Management, former Vice President at IAPMEI and Chairman in many investment funds and many other companies. His professional career includes, amongst other positions, Administrator at the Portuguese Association of Certification, member of the Direction in Startup Lisboa and the Scientific Council of Taguspark.

Also participated in many international organisations as Adviser, namely for the European Research Commissioner.

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