What does Innovation REALLY Look Like?

Techbuyer is a leading business in the sustainable IT sector and, as such, we work to innovate the way that we, as a business, as well as our customers use IT for a more sustainable future.  
In episode three of our podcast series in collaboration with the Leaders Council, Techbuyer’s Sustainability and Research Director, Rich Kenny, explores what innovation really looks like and how we adopt an environment of creativity and development within our business. Listen to the podcast below or continue reading for a full summary of the episode. Alternatively, access the podcast transcript here. 


What is Innovation | Incremental vs Transformational  

Firstly, we should explore what innovation is and how we see development at Techbuyer. Innovation is defined as a new method, idea or product and is often associated with making things better, more efficient, cheaper or taking steps forward.  

At Techbuyer we believe in two distinct types of innovation - incremental and transformational. Incremental innovations are those small directional changes that gradually build up to a whole; it could be improving a process by 1% instead of overhauling an entire method and being flexible about how you take steps forward. Transformational change, in contrast, is about creating something brand new, implementing an innovative process, method or service, or creating large-scale projects for improvement.  

Whilst we harbour both forms of innovation at Techbuyer, it is the incremental changes that we see most. A key example of this is our implementation of more sustainable packaging to ship our products out to customers; find out more about our 70% recycled Eco Strata packaging here.  

This packaging is one example of those micro innovations that are not truly transformative, but all very much add up to create an improving business that is constantly moving towards creating transformational change. 

Ideas of technological advancement and innovation in the North of the UK, where Techbuyer’s headquarters are based, are growing quickly. With AI and immersive tech making headway in the Northeast and health tech and fintech leading the way in Northern Ireland, Northern parts of the UK are demonstrating innovation in emerging technologies at an exceptional rate. Yorkshire itself, Techbuyer’s home county, was identified as the fastest growing digital industry in the UK. Find out more about technology in the North and the future of the IT industry here.


Empowering People  

From our experience, innovation is driven by the people within an organisation; it is about empowering people to share their ideas, explore their passions and communicate their thoughts within a business. We believe that there are four sections to true innovation: attitude, people, aspiration and outcome.  

Attitude is about taking a conscious approach to everything in the pursuit of innovation; it is about wanting to drive improvements whether small or big and not just efficiency but new ideas, methods and techniques. At Techbuyer we look to encourage this attitude and encourage individuals to explore what excites them and bring this passion to leadership. This then creates action that drives innovation and improves our business’s efficiency, impact and functions.  

A key example is the use of our 3D printers to create specialist parts and tools for IT repairs and to reduce the risk of returns. Find out more here.  

Innovation is not the job of a single department or the responsibility of leadership, everyone oversees innovation at Techbuyer; if you have an idea, you bring it forward and you are listened to.

Creating a Diverse Business 

Innovation is all about the sharing of ideas of individuals to move forward as a whole. Because of this, we value recruiting and nurturing a diverse team within our business to generate innovation and develop our organisation’s processes and methods.  

Inviting people from a range of diverse backgrounds that offer different perspectives and ideas is one of the most effective ways to induce innovation within an organisation. Having lots of people who all think alike, and act alike will only get you so far; having different viewpoints allows us to take the best ideas and move them forward as each person approaches the situation in their own way.  

When we look to hire new team members, we do not look to who we will get on with most but their values, their attitude and what they bring to our team in terms of energy and variety. It is this practice that feeds into our drive for innovation and fuels the improvement of our business.  

The team around us is continuously looking to innovate the way we do business and excel in the sustainable IT sector. Richard Kenny, our Sustainability and Research Director is a perfect example of this. Find out about Rich’s experience here.

Creating the Right Culture | Trust, Support and Challenging Ideas

 Generating an environment in which people can share their ideas and feel comfortable bringing innovation forward is essential. We have created a working environment in which team members from any department can bring forward their ideas for innovation and they will be listened to. This is built on mutual trust between team members and managers, as well as support from the business to nurture innovative ideas and thinking.  

A job is not just a contract, it is a relationship and if employees do not feel comfortable enough to challenge ideas in a professional way, then companies often stop improving. At Techbuyer we not only encourage our team members to challenge ideas and processes, but we also challenge them to grow professionally. We support our team with training, qualifications and development opportunities designed to challenge their knowledge and understanding and grow as individuals for a more innovative outlook.  

For example, our Sustainability Lead, Astrid Wynne, recently became a chartered environmentalist; find out about the work she does and what this means here.  

We have also developed a research team focused on challenging ideas within the IT industry and looking to expand understanding of how IT works and how we can improve. As part of this search for understanding, our research engineer, Dr Kat Burdett, designed a wind tunnel to test the effects of the environment on server performance, find out more here. Alternatively, meet our full research team and explore what they focus on here.