[gravata]An innovative approach ensures competitive advantage over the competition.[/gravata] Entrepreneurship and business strategy professor, Eduardo Vilas Boas also works as a business consultant. In the university, he dedicates himself to research on the entrepreneur’s behavior when creating new companies. He explains to the Club readers the importance of innovation in all activities. “It’s necessary to be creative and put the ideas into practice,” Eduardo Vilas Boas, entrepreneurship professor and specialist. HOW DO YOU DEFINE INNOVATION? Innovation is about creating something new that has technical and economic viability. This means that innovation goes beyond invention, since it’s necessary that the new product or service created is viable for commercialization. HOW DOES THIS ISSUE RELATE TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP? The themes have a strong connection. But entrepreneurship is related to attitude: the person must be able to identify opportunities, create new products or services and get them to market. WHAT DIFFERENTIALS CAN INNOVATION ADD TO A BUSINESS? Innovation is what makes the business differentiate itself from competitors and it’s what creates value for it. If you don’t innovate, the company will always compete on price because everyone else offers the same product or service. In other words, without innovation, the only way to attract customers is by being cheaper. IS IT ENOUGH TO BE CREATIVE TO INNOVATE? Creativity is essential to generate new ideas, but only ideas aren’t enough. The main skill for an innovative entrepreneur is to make it happen, that is, have the ability to implement his ideas. Often creative people have great ideas but don’t have the boldness to put them into practice. SHOULD THE PURSUIT FOR INNOVATION BE CONSTANT? Every company that wants to remain in the market must constantly innovate. Innovation doesn’t have to be only in product or service, but can also occur in the way marketing is done, in the business model, among others. HOW CAN A MICRO OR SMALL BUSINESS BE INNOVATIVE? All companies can be innovative. Most of them were born from an innovation, however small it is. The small business owner needs to be careful to create novelties frequently. As the budget for innovation is generally small, he must be creative and know his customers in depth, always thinking what he can do to attract more public and increase the value generated. HOW CAN SOMEONE WHO PROVIDES SERVICES PURSUE INNOVATION? Innovation in service can be harder to see, but it’s also very important. Nowadays, some marketers no longer differentiate product and service: they speak of the buying experience. So it’s the customer’s experience that professionals working in services should think about: from the moment he needed the service until after its completion. With this, he can discover new ways to serve the customer and differentiate himself from the competition. HOW CAN A TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROFESSIONAL INNOVATE? Often the service provided will be the same, but the professional can think of the overall customer experience process. For example, think about how the customer would like to be served. Or if you can predict in advance that the customer will have a problem and contact him. He can also evaluate the possibility of maintaining contact with the customer after the service. The options are many, but the tip is: think about providing the service as the complete process of fulfilling a customer’s needs, and not only about the service executed.